Efling Union members working at seven hotels in the capital area have voted in favour of a strike that will begin on February 7, RÚV reports. Efling chairperson Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir stated that 66% had voted in favour of the strike. The Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) believes the strike is illegal and has plans to file a lawsuit against Efling in the Labour Court.
Efling is Iceland’s second-largest workers’ union, with some 20,000 members. Only the workers at the affected hotels were permitted to vote on the strike, just under 300 members. According to Efling, the strike was approved with 124 votes cast in favour and 58 against. Seven voters did not take a stand on the matter. If Efling and SA do not reach an agreement by February 7, an indefinite strike will begin at the following hotels:
- Fosshótel Reykjavík
- Hótel Reykjavík Grand
- Hótel Reykjavík Saga
- Hótel Reykjavík Centrum
- Fosshótel Baron
- Fosshótel Lind
- Fosshótel Rauðará
“We are, of course, proud of our work, but we are also proud of the members who went to the polls and managed to rise up, despite having been subjected to relentless illegal election propaganda, illegal, from the Icelandic Confederation of Enterprise; constant threats and interference from their employers and then of course this unprecedented and illegal mediation proposal by the state mediator,” Sólveig Anna stated. “Nevertheless, these people stood up for themselves and voted to strike in order to push for a better collective agreement.”
Efling is the only union to have not yet finalised a collective agreement with SA in the latest round of negotiations on the Icelandic labour market. The union represents many of Iceland’s lowest-paid workers and has been particularly militant in its recent negotiations, citing the impact of inflation and rising costs of living on workers.