The strike which had been planned in nine fish meal factories across Iceland was called off at the eleventh hour last night. The joint negotiation committee of Afl, a federation of general and special workers, and the labor union Drífandi were the first to cancel the strike and then the Labor Union of Akranes followed.
Capelin. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
“We are satisfied that a sensible decision was made,” Jóhann Pétur Andersen, managing director of the Association of Icelandic Fish Meal Producers, commented to Morgunbladid.
“The reason that the strike was called off is that solidarity between labor unions in the country is lacking,” a declaration by Afl and Drífandi reads.
They will continue their negotiations on wages with the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA) under the supervision of the state mediator next week.
“There was nothing left to do [but give in] after the other fish meal factories called off the strike,” said Vilhjálmur Birgisson, chairman of the Labor Union of Akranes. “The Icelandic labor movement is in poor shape and I pity Icelandic wage earners. It is unbelievable to watch people not having the courage to stand up for themselves.”
He stated that SA and the Icelandic Confederation of Labor (ASÍ) had made a pact that no one should receive higher wages than agreed upon in a joint wage policy. “I believe that is the main reason for what happened.”
However, President of ASÍ Gylfi Arnbjörnsson told ruv.is that he is sorry that fish meal workers did not decide to go ahead with the strike in unison.
The negotiation committee of the capelin processing plant Lodnuvinnslan in Thórshöfn and SA signed a 14-point declaration on the company’s employees’ special demands yesterday. However, an agreement was not reached on wages and so the dispute will continue under the state mediator.
Approximately 75,000 to 80,000 tons of Iceland’s 252,000-ton capelin quota has yet to be caught.
Click here to read more about capelin fishing and the planned strike.