Today marks the start of an indefinite strike by aircraft mechanics working for the Coast Guard. As reported by Vísir, the strike, which is being held in response to wage disagreements, was originally set to start on October 28, but was postponed.
Sixteen of the eighteen Coast Guard mechanics voted on whether they should call a strike, with 87.5% voting in favour. The state conciliator’s website states “The strike applies to all work carried out by the Icelandic Coast Guard’s aircraft mechanics on behalf of the Icelandic Coast Guard, with the exception of mandatory law enforcement and rescue operations carried out on the basis of Act No. 52/2006 on the Icelandic Coast Guard.”
Georg Lárusson, director of the Coast Guard, says that the strike could have a very negative effect on the rescue capabilities of the Coast Guard, if it continues for too long. “We’ve had many long meetings to prepare and respond; to limit the damage as much as possible. If the strike drags on for a long time, it will have a serious effect on our rescue service, but it’s uncertain as to when these effects might begin.”
Of the Coast Guard’s aircraft fleet, currently only one is available, with the other machines under inspection by the mechanics. “During the strike, no work is being done on them. If there is a break down in the one that is available, it could be very difficult to fix.”
Despite this, Georg says he is optimistic about the future. “I just hope that people show responsibility and realise the obligation they have towards the whole nation. Especially with the situation as it is now,” he said.
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