Icelandic nurses have overwhelmingly approved a vote to go on strike. Seventy-six percent of nurses voted in the poll and of those 90 percent voted in favor of industrial action.
Nurses working for the Icelandic state will go on an indefinite strike on May 27 if no agreement is made by that time. A total of 2,100 nurses work for the state.
Director of Landspítali National University Hospital Páll Matthíasson told Vísir over the weekend that the strikes must come to an end. “Health professionals bear a huge responsibility. Of course people have the right to go on strike but we must also respect the rights of patients to be treated,” he said.
Chief Medical Officer Birgir Jakobsson agrees with Páll and commented over the weekend that he has never experienced anything like the current state of affairs in his long career. He has also voiced his opinion that the strike must be stopped at any cost. He would support legislation banning the strike if it comes to that. “It’s not possible to continue like this,” he said.
Medical professionals commenced strikes last month. With x-ray technicians, natural scientists and biomedical scientists working in hospitals on strike, x-rays and various testing cannot be carried out, affecting the treatment of cancer patients, among others. Midwives are also on strike but exemptions have been granted for certain cases, including c-sections.
As Iceland Review has been reporting, strikes across various other sectors too, including tourism, food and real estate, among 40 percent of Iceland’s workers, are starting to have wide-reaching effects and the industrial action threatens to have long-term effects on the country’s tourism industry.