From Iceland — The Labour Dispute Heats Up As SA Approves Efling Work Ban

The Labour Dispute Heats Up As SA Approves Efling Work Ban

Published February 23, 2023

The labour negotiations between the Icelandic Confederation of Business (SA) and Efling union reached a turning point Wednesday, as an overwhelming majority of SA members approved a work stoppage on Efling‘s union members.  

SA‘s member companies voted 94,73% in favour of the ban with just 3,32% (including Fröken, the company behind the Grapevine) voting against it. Each member company within SA has disparate voting power, as votes are determined by member fees. 87,8% of SA’s members participated in the voting. 

In a press meeting yesterday, SA president Halldór Benjamín Þorbergsson said the work stoppage was a last resort to combat Efling‘s strikes. 

Barring any changes in negotiations, the work stoppage will start on March 2 at 12:00. The ban will affect approximately 20.000 Efling union members, banning them from working or receiving pay. Exemptions from the ban have already been applied to services related to health and geriatric care, schools and emergency services.  

Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, chair of Efling union, has stated that union members will not be compensated by Efling‘s labour dispute fund during the stoppage, as SA bears responsibility for the ban. Agnieszka Ewa Ziólkowska, vice-chair of Efling, has disputed Sólveig‘s statement, quoting the union‘s regulations. According to Agnieszka, the fund is permitted to offer payouts during strikes or work bans. 

Efling has announced it will not call for any further strikes at this point. However, strike actions currently in place will continue, which affect Efling‘s members at Íslandshótel, Berjaya Hotels, Reykjavík Edition, Samskip, Skeljungur and Olíudreifing.

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