Negotiations between pilots and Icelandair on a new collective bargaining agreement were broken off at around midday today. A new meeting has not yet been scheduled ahead of a planned strike on Friday from 6 am to 6 pm, visir.is reports.
Services to Icelandair planes abroad, such as refueling and cleaning or transporting the luggage, may be shut down in support of the pilots, according to Jónas Garðarsson at the International Transport Workers’ Federation in Iceland. A statement on the federation’s website reads: “The company has had tremendous success over the last four years, resulting in substantial executive bonuses and an excellent return on investment for shareholders. FIA [the Union of Icelandic Pilots] say it is time the workers saw some financial benefit – but Icelandair management is declining to share.”
After last Friday’s strike, further actions are planned for May 16, 20 and 30, with the final action lasting four days. From Friday, pilots at the airline have refused to work overtime until the dispute is settled. The strikes are expected to affect thousands of passengers.
Meanwhile, Icelandair CEO Björgólfur Jóhannsson had harsh words for the pilots in a letter he sent to employees. He said that 92 of the 100 highest paid employees of the company are pilots. The letter was in response to criticism by the Union of Icelandic Pilots on the increase in salaries of the board of Icelandair. The union says that salaries increased by 109 percent from 2010 to 2013.
As reported yesterday, Icelandair has announced that the strike by the airline’s pilots could cost the company at least ISK 1.5-1.7 billion (USD 13.3-15 million, EUR 9.6 million-11 million).
The strikes have also been affecting other businesses in Iceland. According to Gunnar Valur Sveinsson, project manager at the Icelandic Travel Industry Association, some tourists have already canceled their trips to the country.