If a strike among oil and truck drivers, set to begin at noon today, becomes a reality, fuel could run out in the capital area as early as Thursday evening. Product shortages could also mean the closing of grocery stores, RÚV reports. Ástráður Haraldsson, the temporarily appointed state mediator in place of Aðalsteinn Leifsson, has called a meeting with representatives from the Efling union and the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) this morning at 9 AM.
Isavia with fuel for 7-10 days
Barring any new developments, 500 hotel employees in Reykjavík and more than 70 freight and oil distribution truck drivers are set to go on strike at noon. The strike could have far-reaching effects in the Southwest corner of Iceland, RÚV reports.
According to information from Isavia – the national airport and air navigation service provider of Iceland – the company’s fuel reserves are sufficient to sustain operations at Keflavík Airport for seven to ten days. As noted by a press release from Efling yesterday, Efling granted 70 exemption requests yesterday evening (three were denied), but it remains to be seen whether Isava will file for an exemption. Among those who successfully applied for exemptions were the National Police Commissioner, the capital area fire department, the Red Cross, Strætó, the National Broadcaster (RÚV), and the winter service of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration.
Ástráður Haraldsson, the temporarily appointed state mediator in place of Aðalsteinn Leifsson – who stepped aside following a ruling by the Court of Appeal – has called a meeting with representatives from the Efling union and the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) this morning at 9 AM. The Minister of Social Affairs and the Labour Market has stated that the government will not intervene in the dispute at this time.
Grocery Stores Could Close
Guðmundur Marteinsson, CEO of the grocery store Bónus, told RÚV that the store’s shelves are adequately stocked to last through the weekend. After the weekend, however, if there is a shortage of products in the capital area, stores may have to be closed.
In an interview with Fréttablaðið yesterday, Guðmundur stated that Bónus had been preparing for strikes by placing larger-than-usual orders. When asked if the truck drivers’ strike would affect some products more than others, Guðmundur replied that almost all of Bónus’ entire range of products would be affected. “We get products delivered every single day, there is not a lot of space to store large overstocks.”
Gas stations could run dry in a matter of days
An article on Vísir yesterday noted that the sale of gasoline and oil had increased significantly, with drivers having brought various containers to the pump in order to store gasoline in the event of a long strike. The CEO of N1, Hinrik Örn Bjarnason, told Vísir that customers could begin to feel the effect of the strike as early as this evening.
“I’ve been driving between our stations yesterday and today. Last night, I saw people filling up old oil drums. There have been a lot of different kinds of bottles and containers sold,” Hinrik Örn remarked.