On strikes in hotels and bus companies

Three sets of strikes have now been voted on: Firstly among workers in hotels, secondly among bus company workers, and thirdly among workers at Almenningsvagnar Kynnisferða, which services a part of the city bus routes of Strætó BS. All three were accepted with a large majority of ballots cast. Why do we go on strike? Company owners in the Icelandic tourist industry have made a lot of money in recent years, but still the working conditions Read more…

The big hotels are no paradise

The CEO of Hótel Saga says in Fréttablaðið today that it’s “strange” to focus strike action on the large hotels. “They are mostly taking care to stick to the laws and regulations,” the CEO is quoted as saying. This is not in accordance with our reports from the field, whether from big hotels or small. Our union representatives in large hotel chains have reported to us that management is taking down names of staff that Read more…

On the government’s tax proposals

The government’s proposed tax decreases are far below expectations. However, on further inspection, questions arise about its content and implementation. The finance minister’s slide show was clearly designed to make the proposals look better than they are and some parts of it don’t add up at all. On other issues there are very serious questions. The personal tax credit, the slides say, would be frozen during the plan’s implementation — from 2020 to 2022. It Read more…

Government offers tax relief of 6,760 on wages under 900 thousand

Today, the government announced its proposals for tax changes, to ease the negotiations for new collective agreements. The emphasis was to be on the lowest wages. “The negotiations had simply stranded,” says Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, head of Efling. “The SA business cartel wasn’t prepared to have a serious discussion about a living wage.” Last week, an offer was made by SA on the one hand and the unions VR, Efling, VLFA and VLFGrv on the Read more…

Statement on the government’s input on February 19

The four unions which have led the current collective negotiations, VR, Efling, VLFA and VLFGrv, declare their anger and disappointment with the government’s proposal, announced in a meeting with ASÍ’s president and vice-presidents today, February 19. Negotiations have been in a critical position after the SA business association made an offer last week which would have led to reduced purchasing power for large groups of workers. The SA rejected a fair counteroffer by the four Read more…

Nearly 80% of Efling members support going on strike

In a new poll of Efling members, produced by Gallup, strong support for the union’s demands in collective negotiations is made clear. Nearly 80% of members consider it fair and the same proportion declares readiness to go on strike to push for the unions’ wage demands. It is not least the foreign workers among the membership which support the wage demands. According to the poll, support for the demands and possible strike action is higher Read more…

When I believed I was middle class

This article was originally published in the biweekly Stundin. Yesterday, I chatted for a while with an old friend. As usual, we talked about everything under the sun over a cup of tea. After having talked about heaven and the universe, we slowly talked ourselves back to Earth. Humans are  marvellous, he said, and had a sip of his camomile tea. My friend had just seen a BBC documentary about class division. It’s remarkable how humans divide themselves into groups, he said. The Read more…

Punishing theft or asking nicely

Most of us are used to punishment following crimes. If someone steals from a shop, it’s not enough to return the stolen things – there’s also a fine. Otherwise, people with a certain attitude could simply try stealing every time, to see if it works. That would be a paradise of theft. Which is why it’s utterly incredible that there are no fines for wage theft, even though it’s a much more dangerous thing than Read more…

Calling all Reykjavik City Workers!

Are you working for Reykjavík City as a member of Efling? Then your contracts are about to expire, and new ones negotiated. We will bargain for your future wages and conditions, and we want you to have control over the process. We will help you build a negotiating committee, and to set your own demands. This city works because you do. Join us in getting a fair deal for us, on whose work the city Read more…

A living wage is not a “crisis”

There has been some movement in negotiations, even though the announcements of yesterday show that further struggle is needed so that people can live off the minimum wage in Iceland. At the meeting of unions and employers at the state mediator yesterday, there was a final rejection of SA proposals on working time. They will not be discussed further. This means that talks about the main matter, wages, are coming up. Last week, Efling and Read more…