Halldór Benjamín Þorbergsson, director of SA, the Confederation of Icelandic Employers, has expressed his pessimism at reaching a new contract with Efling.
Regarding the last counter-offer made by Efling, Halldór refrained from commenting directly to RÚV, but stated this morning: “We will see what happens, but I am not optimistic.”
In Focus: Wage Negotiations
In light of the difficulties, intervention by the state mediator is expected in the coming days.
Halldór further stated to RÚV: “Eighty thousand contracts around the nation have been recently concluded […] SA is now done negotiating with all the major trade unions. As stated, we cannot deviate from the contractual goals and outlines that are in the collective agreements, because then SA would be betraying the trust of these people around the country.”
Regarding a strike, Halldór emphasized the potential damage it could have, saying that it would be costly for both employers, employees, and society as a whole. However, Halldór said that he was “not ruling anything out.”
On the other side of the bargaining table, Efling chairperson Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir has accused SA of showing no willingness to negotiate.
Characterizing the latest contract negotiations as a “battle,” Sólveig recently said in an interview on RÁS 2, that “Efling’s negotiating committee cannot allow itself to be treated this way. We’ve shown a willingness to negotiate so at this point no one can claim that we’ve somehow given up the fight […] We understand the responsibility we bear. Our loyalty is to our union members.”