From Iceland — Overflowing Trash Cans Side Effect Of Wages Dispute With Reykjavik

Overflowing Trash Cans Side Effect Of Wages Dispute With Reykjavik

Published February 27, 2020

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Art Bicnick

You may have noticed that city-owned trash cans in downtown Reykjavík are overflowing, in some cases with trash piling up on top of and around them.

The reason for this isn’t because the garbage collection fleet has broken down, but rather due to the ongoing strike of Reykjavík City workers for the labour union Efling. So if you have an empty bottle or a food wrapper on you while you’re walking downtown, maybe don’t try to force it into one of these cans, but carry it back to your hotel or AirBnB to recycle there.

As reported, the strike has overwhelming support amongst these workers. There are approximately 1,800 people who work for the City of Reykjavík who are in Efling, including some 1,000 playschool workers, 710 caregivers—and numerous sanitation workers. 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.

In some cases, people have taken it upon themselves to seal these trash cans to prevent others from stuffing them further.

Efling and representatives of the City of Reykjavík have met to negotiate on numerous occasions, most recently yesterday, without any progress.

While Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson has revealed that the city offered a significant pay rise to these workers, salary increases were not the only matter of concern for Efling. In a statement the union posted on their website, they revealed that their offer also included additional payments to workers depending on “professional responsibilities, workload, work-related costs and other factors”, which would be paid on top of the base salary.

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