Icelandair Mechanics’ Strike Canceled

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Icelandair Mechanics’ Strike Canceled

By Alëx Elliott
Icelandair plane

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Contract negotiations between aviation mechanics and Icelandair have broken down again and their indefinite strike is still planned to begin tomorrow – although that now seems unlikely, because the Icelandic parliament has been called in from its summer break to debate the matter and vote on outlawing the strike in the name of public interest.

State mediator Magnús Pétursson told RÚV that although the negotiations have made progress there was little point in carrying on, because there is still so far between the two sides.

Alþingi is debating the strike today and seems likely to vote to stop the strike, with interior minister Hanna Birna Kristjánsdóttir saying public interest is at stake.

A one day strike by mechanics on Monday saw dozens of Icelandair flights canceled and around 12,000 passengers adversely affected. In an island nation, reliable air links are important – especially during the high tourist season.

If the strike gag law is passed by parliament, it will be the third time the current government has intervened to ban strikes. Hanna Birna declared, after banning the Icelandair pilots’ strike in May, that her government would not ban any more strikes without calling Alþingi together to debate the issue first. This March she also forced workers on the Herjólfur Westman Islands ferry to postpone their planned strike until 15th September. Ministers are permitted to enact emergency laws without calling a session of Alþingi.

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