Nearly All Pre-schools Set to Close in Strike Action

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Nearly All Pre-schools Set to Close in Strike Action

By Alëx Elliott
Children in Iceland

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

“According to the figures I have pulled together, around 90 percent of pre-school classes across the whole country will close on 19th June, if a new contract has not been agreed with pre-school teachers before that time,” says Ingibjörg Kristleifsdóttir, chair of the association of pre-school managers.

Ingibjörg says she has received answers from the heads of 517 pre-school classes, of which 480 intend to close for strike action if a contract is not agreed. That is about 93 percent. Most of the classes which do plan to remain open are in very small pre-schools in the countryside – although there are examples of classes in the capital region which do not plan to close.

“Though a class may be open, because its leader is not in the Pre-school Teachers’ Association, there will still be reduced service. Pre-school teachers are involved in the running of most other classes in one way or another. For example, they may go into other classes for special projects,” Ingibjörg told Vísir.is.

Negotiators from the Pre-school Teachers’ Association and the Union of Icelandic Municipalities met earlier in the week. “It’s getting nearer rather than further,” Haraldur F. Gíslason, head of the teachers’ group said. Haraldur is best known for being in Pollapönk, this year’s Icelandic entry to the Eurovision Song Contest.

He says that the two sides still have a long way to go. The pre-school teachers want the same pay rise as elementary and further education teachers recently agreed to – up to 30 percent higher wages.

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