The strike at Rio Tinto’s aluminum smelter in Straumsvík, which was meant to begin at midnight last night, has been canceled, Vísir reports. Still, no agreement has been reached between the negotiating parties.
According to Vísir, employees of the smelter are very unhappy with the decision and are considering resigning.
A statement from the negotiating committee claims there is no point in striking in light of repeated threats from management that the aluminum smelter would then be closed.
According to the statement, employees had requested a pay raise comparable to what other workers in the labor market have received lately. It claims the workers find themselves in the difficult situation of experiencing themselves as puppets in Rio Tinto’s lobbying against workers worldwide.
The negotiating committee claims Rio Tinto’s actual intentions are unclear, but the unions suspect the company’s goal is either to reach some sort of negotiating position with Icelandic authorities or to avoid responsibility for its decisions regarding the future of the smelter.
Gylfi Ingvarsson, the workers’ spokesman, tells RÚV the workers were notified last night they had until midnight to accept the employer’s offer, or otherwise the matter would no longer be in their hands, but in those of Rio Tinto abroad.
Ólafur Teitur Guðnason, public relations person for Rio Tinto Alcan in Iceland, tells RÚV it’s good news the pots won’t have to be turned off. Still, he says, no agreement has been reached.