The negotiation committees of the Icelandic Medical Association and the Icelandic state signed a new wage contract between 3 and 4 am last night after 14 continuous hours of talks. The strike among doctors has been canceled and as of today, the operations of hospitals and healthcare centers will run as usual.
Chair of the state’s negotiation committee Gunnar Björnsson wouldn’t reveal the details of the new agreement to RÚV as it has not yet been presented to the doctors whose wages it will affect. Both parties had to go back on some of their demands. Gunnar stated he is fairly pleased with the outcome, even though the salary increase could have been more moderate.
State negotiator Magnús Pétursson told RÚV that he is very pleased that a deal has been struck. It has been a lengthy negotiation process—the dispute was referred to his office in June last year. Talks have been ongoing since August with 42 meetings scheduled.
“I believe everyone in this country has followed the progress of the dispute pretty closely,” Magnús said, adding that he hasn’t felt pressured by the public. “However, I think everyone knows that if a dispute is being followed, people must work harder than otherwise.”
Magnús described the talks as “memorable” and stated it had been fun to reencounter various employees of Landspítali National University Hospital with whom he was familiar, as he served as the hospital’s director for ten years.
“It’s very fortunate that the matter has been resolved,” Magnús concluded. The wage contract must now be presented to the members of the Icelandic Medical Association for approval.
Chief medical executive at Landspítali Ólafur Baldursson commented on ruv.is that the news that an agreement had been reached had come as a “great relief” as it had become increasingly difficult to guarantee the safety of patients in the ongoing strike.
The wage dispute between surgeons and the Icelandic state is still ongoing. Gunnar stated both the Icelandic Medical Association and Icelandic Association of Surgeons are working on a joint declaration of intent in relation with the new agreement.