From Iceland — Coast Guard Mechanics Reject Proposal; Justice Minister Bans Strike

Coast Guard Mechanics Reject Proposal; Justice Minister Bans Strike

Published November 27, 2020

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A proposal from the State Mediator was presented to the Coast Guard aircraft mechanics, with the hope of ending the ongoing strike that began on 5 November, Fréttablaðið reports. However, Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir has just submitted a proposal that would force these mechanics back to work, which was approved by the government.

The bargaining meeting between the mechanics and the State Bargaining Committee concluded at 7pm on Wednesday night, without an agreement being reached. State Mediator Aðalsteinn Leifsson said the meeting lasted 10 hours, but no other meetings have been called as yet. The Coast Guard has been without helicopters since midnight on Wednesday.

”The parties involved in the dispute did not reach an agreement and, in light of the current state of emergency, I presented ideas for resolving the dispute in a so called ‘internal proposal’” said Aðalsteinn. This proposal would mean, among other things, that the current agreement would stand until 31 December 2021, and that the air mechanics will get the same pay rise now that was in the main agreement for Icelandair mechanics. “I suggested to the parties to approve this proposal”, Aðalsteinn continued, “But, unfortunately, it did not get approval from the mechanics.”

Regardless, the Justice Minister has just submitted a proposal to the government which outlaws the strike altogether, citing public safety necessitating the move. This ban was subsequently approved by the government. The proposal also gives mechanics until January 4th to work out a new contract, otherwise the matter will go to arbitration court.

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