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Icelandic Journalists On Strike Today

Icelandic journalists are striking today for the first time in over 40 years, RÚV reports. Reporters for online media, photographers, and videographers at Icelandic National Broadcaster RÚV, Fréttablaðið, Morgunblaðið, and Sýnar, who are members of the Union of Icelandic Journalists (Blaðamannafélag Íslands), are on strike between 10.00am and 2.00pm today.

The Friday strike will be repeated on the next two Fridays, Nov. 15 and November 22, if an agreement is not reached, and will be extended for longer than four hours. A strike is also scheduled for November 28, from 10.00am to 10.00pm, which will include journalists who work on the print issues of Morgunblaðið and Fréttablaðið, as well as photographers and videographers.

Negotiations at standstill

Journalists’ Union members voted to strike last week. Ten months of negotiation failed to produce an agreement between the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) and journalists, and no meeting are scheduled between the parties as of publication. Of 211 members, 131 voted, with over 83% in support of the strike.

Disagree on striking technicalities

In a flyer SA sent to media, the Confederation underlined that the strike only affects union members who do the particular tasks outlined in the strike invitation. Journalists who belong to other unions are expected to perform their duties as usual, and managers are permitted to do the work of their striking employees.

Union of Icelandic Journalists chairperson Hjálmar Jónsson described SA’s position as discouraging, saying the Confederation is attempting to prevent the legal strike. Hjálmar asserts that non-union members should also participate in the work stoppage, otherwise it would have little effect. The Union has requested legal aid in interpreting SA’s position.

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