The staff at the Rio Tinto aluminium smelter in Straumsvík have postponed a strike previously scheduled to begin at eight am tomorrow morning, RÚV reports. A meeting of negotiating committees from the five unions proposing the strike and SA Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise lasted late into the night yesterday, but the unions’ representative stated that the committees had reached an agreement that will be the basis for further negotiations.
The five unions encompass around 400 staff members, whose contracts have been up since early July. Initially, a guerrilla strike should have started last week to put pressure on the negotiations, but was postponed until tomorrow, Friday, after an agreement was reached with the smelter’s management.
“We sat in a meeting until almost 2 am,” Reinhold Richter, the head union representative for the smelter staff told RÚV. “We reached a certain agreement to continue the talks, which led to us postponing the strike scheduled for tomorrow, Friday. And our goal is to finish the talks soon.”
Reinhold stated that the next meeting will be with the State Conciliation and Mediation Officer (SCMO) next Thursday. According to Reinhold, the agreement can not be disclosed to the public at this stage, but he hopes it will lead to signed contracts. “We have a foundation to build on. A binding agreement on certain things we like.”
Asked if he thinks the smelter staff will agree to a contract based on this agreement, he said it was likely. “Yes, I think so. I still have to introduce this to my people, and that’s my next step.”