From Iceland — Majority Of Reykjavik City Workers Vote In Favour Of Strikes

Majority Of Reykjavik City Workers Vote In Favour Of Strikes

Published January 27, 2020

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With a record-breaking voter turnout of 59.2%, 95.5% of Reykjavík City workers within the labour union Efling have voted in favour of a strike, Efling has announced. Of 1,121 ballots cast, only 34 voted against a strike and 16 abstained.

There are approximately 1,800 people who work for the City of Reykjavík who are in Efling, including some 1,000 playschool workers and 710 caregivers. These workers have been without a collective bargaining agreement since March 31st of last year, and the union believes that its workers are long overdue for a wage correction.

Unfortunately, negotiations with the city have not gone particularly well. In fact, they have completely broken down, to such a degree that the union requested direct negotiations with Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson—an invitation he subsequently declined.

“In my numerous visits to the city’s workplaces since the autumn, I have sensed among the staff a great willingness to fight,” Efling chair Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir said in the announcement. “People are sick and tired of working for starvation wages with increasing stress and in difficult conditions. A record-breaking turnout, not to mention an overwhelming willingness to act, demonstrates beyond all doubt that we’re on the right track and that the masses are with us. With this wind in our sails, we are well equipped for the struggle ahead with the city.”

A formal announcement of the intent to strike is scheduled to be submitted to municipal authorities today.

As reported, the union’s proposal “agrees to the same increases in the wage rates which were approved in the open labor market in April of last year, and calls for a necessary and overdue correction of the city’s low wage policy.”

The city still has a chance to approve of this proposal. If it does not, the schedule of work stoppages and strikes will be as follows:

Tuesday, February 4th of 2020: Work stops from 12:30 noon until 11:59pm.
Thursday, February 6th of 2020: Work stops from 12:01 midnight until 11:59pm.
Tuesday, February 11th: Work stops from 12:30 noon until 11:59pm.
Wednesday, February 12th: Work stops from 12:01 midnight until 11:59pm.
Thursday, February 13th: Work stops from 12:01 midnight until 11:59pm.
Monday, February 17th: Work stops from 12:01 midnight and the strike lasts for an indefinite period of time.

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