Icelandair Pilots Threaten Walk Out

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Icelandair Pilots Threaten Walk Out

By Alëx Elliott
Icelandair plane

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

With the Icelandic airport workers’ dispute still unresolved, there is more potential bad news for air passengers as Icelandair pilots prepare for an overtime ban and possible strike action.

The head of the Icelandair pilots’ contract negotiating team says that the company’s executives and shareholders have seen excellent pay rises and dividends recently and that it is now time for the company’s staff to benefit. Icelandair pilots are casting their ballots at the moment for industrial action, which would start in two weeks’ time.

Voting began on Tuesday and runs for a week. The pilots’ negotiating chief, Örnólfur Jónsson told Vísir.is that Icelandair pilots will stop working any overtime if the ballot passes. The industrial action would start on 9th May and there would be five strikes over three weeks – none lasting less than 12 hours.

Örnólfur recognizes that the industrial action would be very bad for the airline, but adds that there is still over two weeks to come to an agreement and avert the strikes.

Asked why the pilots are making stringent wage demands, Örnólfur says that Icelandair has just had the best four years in its very long history and that the company has never been as financially strong as it is today. Executives have reaped large pay rises and shareholders cannot be anything other than happy either. “It’s simply time for the staff now,” he says.

The five short strikes would run concurrently with the overtime ban, which would be indefinite.

The Central Bank of Iceland recently reported that there is room for export companies to increase wages without any negative impact on the overall economy. International airlines are counted among export companies.

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