Efling Strike: Classrooms Close Due to Unsanitary Conditions Skip to content

Efling Strike: Classrooms Close Due to Unsanitary Conditions

By Ragnar Tómas

Borgarfjörður eystri
Photo: Golli. A child at school in Borgarfjörður eystri, East Iceland.

Around 1,850 City of Reykjavík employees who are members of the Efling Union began an indefinite strike on Monday, January 17. The strike has already had a considerable impact on several Reykjavík schools, Vísir reports.

Efling expects an extended strike

A strike among Reykjavík City employees who are members of the Efling Union began last Monday. Union chairperson Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir expects the strike to be a long one. The strike will affect preschools, elementary schools, welfare services, and waste management services in the city.

Efling turned down a proposal from the City of Reykjavík last Tuesday, February 19, saying that, “once again, the City of Reykjavík had struck the conciliatory hand of low-wage workers.”

Unsanitary conditions

The strike has begun impacting Reykjavík schools. A group of students in Grandaskóli stayed home today as a section of the school had been closed due to unsanitary conditions. Réttarholtsskóli was also closed yesterday, as the school’s janitorial staff is currently on strike. Conditions were especially dire in the school’s bathrooms.

17 Classrooms Closed

Conditions are comparable in other schools, with many schools being unable to receive all students, as school administrators are planning to close parts of their buildings. Grandaskóli is one of those schools: roughly 140 students, of 365, were able to attend school today.

“It’s the cleaning that’s having the biggest impact,” Örn Halldórsson, principal of Grandaskóli stated. “We needed to close that part of the school that hasn’t been cleaned. It puts the worst strain on the halls and the desks where the kids eat their packed meals in the morning. The state of the desks is unacceptable.”

Grandaskóli has closed 17 classrooms while continuing to teach in seven. Örn hopes for a speedy resolution to the wage negotiations, as strikes have a negative impact on the education and wellbeing of children. “It’s absurd. Children need their routine. Uncertainty of this kind affects them negatively, just like us adults.”

It remains uncertain when the next wage negotiations will occur as the State Mediator has yet to call a new meeting.

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