Strikes by members of the BSRB union are set to begin on Monday. A meeting between BSRB representatives and the Icelandic Association of Local Authorities (SNS) at the state mediator’s office has proven unsuccessful. No new meeting has been called.
The largest federation of unions in the public sector
BSRB is the largest federation of public worker unions in Iceland. As noted on the union’s website, all trade unions operating in the public service, whether within the state, municipal, or private sector, are eligible to apply for membership to BSRB. The federation was established on February 14, 1942, and counts 19 affiliated unions with over 23,000 members. About two third of the members are women.
As noted by Mbl.is, a meeting between BSRB representatives and the Icelandic Association of Local Authorities (SNS), held at the state mediator’s office today, was unsuccessful. “There has, in fact, been no progress. We didn’t sense much willingness to negotiate on the part of SNS,” Sonja Ýr Þorbergsdóttir, Chair of BSRB, stated in an interview with Mbl.is Sonja clarified that the mediators saw no reason to schedule another meeting. Strikes will, therefore, begin on Monday.
As noted by Mbl.is, the strikes will be undertaken by 977 workers at kindergartens, primary schools and after-school centres in Kópavogur, Garðabær, Mosfellsbær, and Seltjarnarnes. Additional strikes are scheduled for each passing week if no agreement is reached.
SNS must face up to the situation
In an announcement from SNS, the union encourages the leadership of BSRB to take its case in the union’s wage dispute to court and request that it be expedited. SNS says that if the court’s decision shows that the association is in the wrong, then the salary of union members will be redressed.
“It’s up to them to resolve this dispute without going to court. We currently have two options: on the one hand, to make a new collective agreement, where this inequality is corrected; or, on the other hand, to go to court. The position of our workers is very clear: they intend to take action to ensure that this inequality is remedied. I think that SNS has to start facing up this situation,” Sonja Ýr observed.
When asked if BSRB would consider taking the dispute to court, if strike action did not bring about the desired result, Sonja responded thusly: “I’m not worried that such large-scale operations will not achieve anything. I think it’s only a matter of time before the association will have to accept the situation,” Sonja concluded by saying.