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Industrial Workers Sign Agreement, Strikes Averted

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Industrial Workers Sign Agreement, Strikes Averted

BHM march May 1

From May 1 demonstrations in Reykjavík. Photo: BHM/Facebook.

A seven-day strike among 10,500 industrial workers has been averted after an agreement was reached with SA, Business Iceland, yesterday evening, Vísir reports. A strike had been set to begin at midnight and was expected to result in wide-reaching effects, including on air traffic to and from Iceland.

The agreement covers union members of six unions in different fields, including hairdressing, bookmaking, food production, electrical work, marine engineering and metal technology.

Head of the Icelandic Union of Marine Engineers and Metal Technicians (VM) Guðmundur Ragnarsson said in an interview with Stöð 2 that it had been clear that the negotiations could not go any further and so it was decided to sign the wage agreement. Union members would now vote on the agreement.

In related news, a new meeting between representatives of nurses and the Icelandic state began at 9 am this morning. This is the first meeting held to discuss the wage dispute between the Icelandic Nurses’ Association and the Icelandic state since a law was passed banning nurses, as well as the members of the Association of Academics (BHM), from striking.

Nurses and medical technicians resigned en masse in response to the ban. Head of the Icelandic Nurses’ Association Ólafur G. Skúlason told ruv.is this morning that he was moderately optimistic that an agreement would be reached before July 1.

If not, strikes will resume that day.

Workers across many sectors in Iceland have been on strike, or have been planning to strike, over discontent on wages and conditions in the labor market in recent months. All unions in the private sector which were in wage disputes with SA have now signed new agreements.

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