Labour Court Rules Union's Planned 'Micro Strikes' Illegal Skip to content

Labour Court Rules Union’s Planned ‘Micro Strikes’ Illegal

The Icelandic Labour Court has ruled that four of the seven ‘micro’ strike actions that the Efling labour union intended to implement during upcoming bus driver strike are illegal, Vísir reports.

According to an announcement on the Strætó website, the rejected strike actions include drivers not taking or monitoring passenger fare and drivers stopping buses for five minutes at 4:00 pm every day between March 23 – 29. As of time of writing, the court’s full judgement had not been published.

“I’ve said that Efling’s particular goal was to try and test the limits of labour law and that SA [the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise] would pursue legal action against all attempts to defy it,” remarked Halldór Benjamín Þorbergsson, SA’s director general. “It’s gratifying that that the verdict confirms it—that [the micro strikes] are illegal.”

Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir’s interpretation of the judgement was more flexible; she said that it did not deem micro strike actions illegal in and of themselves and also maintained that it did not preclude the possibility of Efling implementing micro strike actions in the future. She was, nevertheless, surprised by the ruling.

“It’s a shame that our members do not get to make full use of their right to strike,” Viðar Þorsteinsson, executive director of Efling, was quoted saying in a statement published on the union website. “These actions are moderate and are meant to be incremental in nature, as opposed to the effect being felt fully immediately. But we will of course abide by this decision and learn from it.”

Even as the micro strike actions have been ruled illegal, Efling will still proceed with its “conventional strikes.” The first of these is a 24-hour strike on March 22, during which time, “there will be no work by Efling members in hotels and bus companies from midnight to midnight.” After that, there are a series of two to three-day strikes planned until May 1st, when Efling members in the bus and hotel industries would go on strike indefinitely.

In addition, from April 1 – May 1, Strætó drivers who are also employed by the tour company Almenningsvagnar Kynnisferða will not drive on weekdays from 7:00 – 9:00 am and 4:00 – 6:00 pm. This work stoppage will impact the 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 24, 28, 35 and 36 bus routes. There may be minor impact on the 11, 13, 22, 23, 31, 33, 34, 43 and 44 routes. None of the drivers for the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 18 routes are in Efling, therefore, these routes will not be affected by the aforementioned strike actions.

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