Draft collective wage agreements have been accepted by all parties in negotiations between trade unions VR, Efling, Hlíf, VSFK and the Commercial Federation of Iceland (LÍV), and the confederation of Icelandic employers, Business Iceland (SA). Final contracts are expected to last through 2018.
Focus was maintained on raising lower wages, and protecting middle-income households. Minimum wage for union members will be raised to ISK 245,000 (USD 1,800, EUR 1,650) at the time of ratification; up by ISK 86,000 from the current minimum of ISK 214,000. A gradual increase will then bring the minimum up to ISK 300,000 by May 2018.
The wage adjustment guarantee for those above minimum wage will start at 7.2 percent for wages up to ISK 300,000 and grow incrementally smaller for higher wages, while never going below 3.0 percent.
Lowest rates will increase by 31.1 percent over the course of the three year period. Agreements are expected to be finalized later this week, in which case next week’s scheduled strikes will officially be canceled.
Meanwhile, no end is yet in sight to the nurses’ strike, which began last night at midnight. Svanur Sigurðsson, physician on call at the Landspítalinn emergency room, described last night as unusually quiet and said no nurses on the strike-exception list needed to be called out, Vísir reports.
“It’s my understanding that some spaces at the hospital will be closing today because of a staffing shortage on inpatient wards, and that situation could become problematic if it leads to difficulties admitting new patients to those inpatient wards. That would then soon lead to a hold up in traffic through the emergency room. I’m quite concerned about that,” said Svanur.