The wage disputes between kindergarten teachers and local governments in Iceland have been fruitless so far and a strike is being planned as of Monday next week if agreements aren’t reached by then.
From a playschool. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
“It’s the salary issue that’s disputed. We have offered them comparable agreements as other university and teacher unions but they want us to double that offer,” Inga Rún Ólafsdóttir, chairwoman of the negotiation committee of the Association of Local Authorities in Iceland, told ruv.is.
Kindergarten teachers have demanded an 11 percent salary correction on top of the offer they were given, which, according to visir.is is a question of ISK 30,000 (USD 262, EUR 182) monthly.
“Agreements have been made with comparable unions on a pay raise of between 12 and 14 percent,” Ólafsdóttir stated on ruv.is.
She is not optimistic that agreements can be reached in time for the strike; no other negotiation meetings have been scheduled. “But of course people have to talk with each other and try as hard as they can to reach an agreement.”
Haraldur F. Gíslason, chairman of the Icelandic Kindergarten Teachers’ Union, told the radio station Bylgjan that he fears employees of playschools will leave their positions if their demands are not met; they want comparable pay as others with the same level of education.
According to RÚV, a strike among kindergarten teachers might affect 14,000 homes in Iceland. Gíslason said there are around 240 playschools in Iceland, only a few of which are private. The strike would not affect those schools.
Gíslason said these include only a few exceptions. In other municipalities all divisional managers of playschools are members of the union; in Akureyri, for example, all kindergartens would close.