Efling’s negotiating committee has postponed all strikes until Sunday. The Director of SA’s Labour Market Division says no victory has been won; the postponements are primarily a way to ensure peace to negotiate, RÚV reports. Talks are set to resume 10 AM Friday.
The suspension of strikes not a victory
Efling’s negotiating committee has agreed to postpone all strikes until Sunday so that “formal talks” can begin with the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA). Ástráður Haraldsson, temporarily appointed state mediator, told RÚV that a decision had been made to impose a media ban on the negotiating committees and that the plan was to conclude the talks this weekend. Whether or not the negotiations would prove successful would have to be seen.
Ragnar Árnason, Director of SA’s Labour Market Division, clarified that the postponement of strikes was not an upshot of the negotiations but was primarily about ensuring peace to work: It is difficult to call people to a meeting when they’re busy monitoring strikes and putting out fires in their places of work.
Ragnar stated that SA requested that the strikes be postponed longer but that the decision was up to Efling and SA was not in a position to make further demands. “We’ll see what the next few days bring, that is if we have to postpone strikes again if things go well this weekend.” Ragnar does not consider the suspension of strikes a victory; companies had suffered a lot of damage during the cessation of work.
The right decision at this time
Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, Chair of Efling, told RÚV that the union’s negotiating committee had weighed the decision to postpone strikes for “a long time.” The committee had concluded that this was the right thing to do, given the situation. “We would never have made this decision unless we believed that talks were progressing, that something was happening, that there was something to be gained.”
Sólveig added that things would clear up soon enough. Efling would attend tomorrow’s meeting and the negotiating committee was prepared to hold discussions for as long as necessary. She admitted that it had been a difficult decision to postpone the strikes because strikes are “their weapons.” “They’ve gotten us to this place; we’re headed towards real wage negotiations.”