In the past weeks, journalists in Iceland have become the subject of the news. While digital journalists have previously been on strike, today it is print journalists engaging in job action, reports RÚV. Today at 10:00 journalists and photographers for the print edition of the Icelandic publications Morgunblaðið and Fréttablaðið began a 12-hour strike.
Prior to this year, Icelandic journalists hadn’t gone on strike since 1978. For months, media professionals have been negotiating their collective bargaining agreement. While the Icelandic Journalists Union (BÍ) is demanding higher salaries for media professionals, they consider the proposals they have received to date to be “less than nothing”, resulting in frequent strikes since the summer.
Today’s strike follows an agreement being tentatively struck last week between Bí and the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise that was rejected by 70% of voting union members.
In November, RÚV reported the 15 employees of the Morgunblaðið daily newspaper were laid off. At the time, editor Stefán Einar Stefánsson blamed the dismissals on the journalists’ supposed unrealistic demands. He went on to imply that the strikes could result in more people being fired. In a Facebook post, he blamed BÍ for the job josses “It’s hard to save people from themselves. It is worse, however, when innocent people cannot be saved from their stupidity,” he said.
In an interview with Vísir today, the editor for Fréttablaðið, Jón Þórisson, confirmed that today’s strike action will leave a mark on tomorrow’s paper and that he wishes that this wasn’t necessary, but the publication stands with the strikers. “It is not about breaking the right for people to strike. We stand with people in that regard, unlike what one has seen elsewhere,” Jón said.
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