Morgunblaðið newspaper and national broadcaster RÚV both violated a web media strike last Friday, according to The Union of Icelandic Journalists (BÍ). Vísir reports that the Union plans to appeal the violations before the Icelandic Labour Court. Journalists are scheduled to strike again this Friday.
Collective agreements between the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) and the BÍ ran out at the beginning of the year, but months of negotiations have not led to a consensus.
Last Friday, reporters for online media, photographers, and videographers at Icelandic National Broadcaster RÚV, as well as Fréttablaðið, Morgunblaðið, and Sýnar went on strike between 10.00am and 2.00pm. Hjálmar Jónsson, chairperson of the Journalists’ Union, says Morgunblaðið violated that strike on 30 accounts, with one violation occurring at RÚV.
Morgunblaðið journalists from the paper’s news and sports departments released a statement following the strike on Friday. The statement asserts that as the legally sanctioned strike took effect, “several journalists at Morgunblaðið, who do not normally write news on mbl.is, began to write news on mbl.is. In addition a former summer employee and a freelance writer were called to write news for mbl.is.” As per the statement, the reporting was carried out “with the knowledge and will of the editor and CEO of Morgunblaðið,” Davíð Oddsson and Haraldur Jóhannessen.
“By submitting this statement, we want to make it clear that we bear no responsibility for the news and publications that were written and published on mbl.is during the legally organised actions of members of the Union of Icelandic Journalists,” the statement concludes, followed by 20 signatures.
Hjálmar called the actions a “determined intention to violate” the strike, which he says media were informed of on October 10. He not optimistic that the Labour Court will make a ruling on the matter before the next scheduled strike in three days.