Series of Workers’ Strikes Looming Skip to content
hotel workers strike Reykjavík
Photo: Hotel workers’ strike on March 8, 2019..

Series of Workers’ Strikes Looming

Dozens of strike actions among bus drivers, hotel workers, and other workers in tourism are on the horizon in the Reykjavík capital area. Bus drivers voted 92% in favour of strike measures last weekend. Led by Efling Union, six separate strikes lasting 1-3 days are planned over the next several weeks, as well as seven work-to-rule measures affecting workers in the aforementioned industries. A general strike will begin on May 1 unless labour unions and the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) reach an agreement first.

Upcoming strikes

Efling Union has two types of strikes planned: traditional work stoppages and work restrictions. Work stoppages will take place from midnight to midnight on the following days:

March 22 (1 day)

March 28-29 (2 days)

April 3-5 (3 days)

April 9-11 (3 days)

April 15-17 (3 days)

April 23-25 (3 days)

May 1 (until the strike is called off)

The following work restrictions apply to bus drivers:

March 18 through April 30: Work to rule strike

March 23 through April 30: No checking of tickets or counting of passengers

April 6 through April 30: No work before noon

For hotel workers, the following restrictions apply:

March 18 through April 30: Work to rule strike

March 23 through April 30: No cleaning of toilets or common areas

March 30 through April 30: No cleaning of rooms where guests have not checked out and no serving of breakfast

April 26 through April 30: No laundry service

Efling provides a list of hotels affected by the strike actions on their website.

SA takes Efling to court again

SA plans to take Efling Union to the Labour Court over the proposed strike actions. The confederation says the legality of the strikes is questionable, particularly in the case of work restrictions. “A strike is about not showing up to work and not receiving wages. [In Efling’s planned work restrictions] you have to show up to work, not do your whole job, and still receive wages. This is a sharp and poorly defensible understanding of the application and development of traditional strike rights.”

Efling’s executive director Viðar Þorsteinnson says the union had already reduced their demands before negotiations fell apart. “Of course everyone here wants to reach an agreement but it has to be acceptable to people and the people with the lowest income here, in our community, must be able to live off their salaries.”

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