Representatives of the Efling union and the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) attended a meeting with temporarily appointed state mediator Ástráður Haraldsson at 10 AM this morning. Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, Chair of Efling, stated that the union would not consider postponing strikes unless a meaningful offer was made, Vísir reports.
No postponement without a meaningful offer
Ástráður Haraldsson began meeting with the two disputing parties at 9 AM yesterday. After a long day of discussion, Ástráður told the media that they were still trying to determine whether there was a basis for actual, substantive wage negotiations.
In an article in Morgunblaðið today, SA stated that postponing strikes was the basis for continued negotiations.
Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir responded to this statement in an interview with Vísir this morning. “Efling will not postpone strike action unless a meaningful offer is made by SA; there really would have to be some meat on the bones in that respect.”
When asked if she was optimistic about the negotiations, Sólveig was unwilling to say: “Let’s see. I don’t really know what will happen in the next few hours. The Efling negotiation committee and I hope, as we have always hoped, that Efling agreements will be signed with Efling members.”
Unwise to rely on government intervention
Eyjólfur Árni Rafnsson, the Chair of SA – who will be leading the negotiations on behalf of SA in the absence of the indisposed Halldór Benjamín Þorbergsson – told Vísir that he had first read about SA’s demand regarding the postponement strikes in the news this morning. He had not made such a statement himself.
“We are sitting down at 10 AM. I hope it will be a long day. The fact that negotiations are taking place is remarkable. If it’s a short day, it’s not as remarkable.”
When asked about the rather combative statements that were being made by the opposing camps, and if it wasn’t advisable to spare them, Eyjólfur Árni replied: “Sure, it’s always best to show constraint. We are sitting down to talk. We’re going to throw ourselves into this wholeheartedly.”
Eyjólfur Árni concluded by saying that it was SA’s role to work towards agreements as opposed to relying on a possible intervention from the government.