No progress has been made in negotiations between the Icelandic Journalists Union (BÍ) and state arbiters, RÚV reports, with the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) offering the union “less than nothing”, as union director Hjálmar Jónsson put it. If the situation does not change, journalists within the union will take a vote on whether or not to strike next week.
The main issue at stake, according to Hjálmar, is wages. The terms of their wage agreement have decreased significantly over the years, such that a university educated journalist with a year’s experience is paid no more than 400,000 ISK per month, before taxes.
“We want to fix what’s being offered to our journalists, so that what’s being offered ends up in their paychecks,” Hjálmar told reporters. “We’re not seeking to shorten the working hours. What we want is krónur in the envelope.”
The strike in question, if members vote in favour, will not be a straightforward affair.
“This would be the first time in 40 years that journalists have gone on strike in Iceland,” Hjálmar says. “It was a lot simpler in the old days. Now one needs to announce exactly who will be going on strike and when. The negotiations committee could offer a strike. It’s not like that anymore so we need to prepare for this carefully, and the work for that is ahead of us.”
The contract that journalists may strike over pertains specifically to reporters for newspapers Morgunblaðið and Fréttablaðið, and the reporters for Sýn, the company which operates the Stöð 2 television station and the radio station Bylgjan.
A clearer picture of if and when a strike will commence should take shape after the weekend.
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