Ragnar Þór Ingólfsson, chairperson of VR, Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, chairperson of Efling, and Vilhjálmur Birgisson, chairperson of the Association of Trade Unions, have all withdrawn their candidacy for the central board of ASÍ.
At the 45th conference of ASÍ, Iceland’s Federation of Labour, tensions have run high, with accusations of personal attacks and more leading to uncertainty for the future of ASÍ’s leadership. The tensions take place in the wake of Drífa Snædal’s, former chairperson of the ASÍ board, resignation earlier this year. Among the reasons for her resignation she cited that personal conflicts had escalated to the point where it was no longer possible for her to perform her job.
In addition to their candidacies for leadership being withdrawn, they have also stated that they are now considering withdrawing their unions from ASÍ itself. Both Sólveig and Ragnar have stressed in statements that the final decision will be decided among the unions themselves.
The Federation of Labour, founded in 1916, has been the major power in organised labour in Iceland since its founding. Should Efling and VR, Iceland’s two largest trade unions, leave ASÍ, it would represent a historic change in Icelandic labour relations.
Ólöf Helga Adolfsdóttir, secretary of the board of Efling, had previously announced her candidacy against Ragnar Þór for ASÍ president. She is the presumptive candidate for ASÍ president.