Majority of Icelanders Support Strikers Skip to content

Majority of Icelanders Support Strikers

More than half of Icelanders support intended strikes by the unions Efling, VR, the Union of Akranes and the Union of Grindavík, Fréttablaðið reports. The unions have entered into discussions with SA Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise to raise pay among a certain group of their union members. Less than a third of Icelanders are against the strike.

These are the results of a survey conducted by Zenter research. The survey was made on the last day of February and the first day of March, with 1.441 people taking part. All individuals who answered Zenter’s questions were over 18 years of age and their answers were graded on the basis of age, gender and place of residence for the best representation of the nation’s attitudes towards the intended strike.

Union negotiations with the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise, SA, have reportedly gotten nowhere. Late last week, Efling members who work in cleaning jobs voted on a one day strike, set for next Friday, March 8, with an overwhelming majority supporting the procedure. Reportedly not everyone agrees on whether the voting was legitimately handled or not, a dispute that will be handled by Iceland’s Labour Court. VR union is also planning on intermittent strikes this month, with a full-blown strike planned for the beginning of April should their demands not be be met by that time.

According to Zenter’s survey, about 56% of participants said they supported the union’s actions. About one in seven people was neither against nor for them and about a third was against them.

The strikes found the biggest support amongst those living in Reykjanes, or about 73% of inhabitants, closely followed by the populace of Northern and Eastern Iceland, where 60% support the intended actions of the unions.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the head of SA Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise, Halldór Benjamín, downplayed the results of Zenter’s survey. “Considering how much wages have been discussed in the country recently, I’m a little surprised that there isn’t more support for the strikes than we are seeing there,” Halldór said, “especially since most people are expecting someone other than themselves to strike.”

“Strikes in a cooling economy, when capelin fishing is low and our airlines are having a tough time, is very risky business with a very unclear outcome,” Halldór warned.

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