Reykjavík City and Efling Union Reach Agreement in Wage Disputes Skip to content

Reykjavík City and Efling Union Reach Agreement in Wage Disputes

By Jóhann Páll Ástvaldsson

Reykjavík pond
Photo: Photo: Golli. Tjörnin pond. .

Efling union and Reykjavík City reached an agreement for a collective bargaining agreement last night, following a three-week-long strike of Efling workers. The strike had a disruptive effect on kindergartens in the capital area. Full-time employees in the lowest wage bracket will see a wage raise of ISK 112,000 per month ($875, €770).

Reykjavík mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson states that the agreement is in accordance with what the city had previously offered Efling workers. “The way I see it, this a breakthrough agreement,” Dagur commented. The two sides agreed on a ISK 15,000 ($117, €103) special allowance for the lowest wage brackets, with a lower amount for those in higher wage brackets.

Along with the wage raise, an agreement for the shortening of the workweek was also reached. The workweek of shift-work employees will be shortened from 40 hours to 36, while those who work at all hours of the day will see a shortening of the workweek to 32 hours. Employees working at office hours in the daytime will also be able to shorten their workweek to 36 hours, from the aforementioned 40.

Furthermore, kindergarten staff is ensured to receive 10 overtime hours per month in the form of a special allowance. Kindergarten staff will also have added leeway to sit courses and seek education. Educating kindergarten staff members will be given extra emphasis as part of salaries so that staff can save for paid education leave.

COVID-19 effect

The two sides celebrated the conclusion of the negotiation using sign language, refraining from shaking hands due to updated work procedures connected to the COVID-19 virus. Dagur also commented that the virus had undeniably put further pressure on the two negotiating committees. “We have daily meetings with the city’s emergency management team to prepare society for the outbreak of COVID-19, and the work needed to be done there is an unpleasant fit with the reality of strikes and wage disputes,” Dagur stated.

Reykjavík city officials have reached an agreement with six thousand Efling workers in the last two days, or close to 65% of those employed by Reykjavík city.

Next steps

Following the strike of Efling workers in Reykjavík, 300 Efling union members went on strike yesterday in adjoining capital area municipalities Kópavogur, Mosfellsbær, Seltjarnarnes, Ölfus, and Hveragerði. Efling president Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir expects a swift resolution to the wage dispute in those municipalities.

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