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Strikes Update

Iceland is still affected by striking workers in various sectors, and while there is progress in many industries, the health service is still under immense pressure.

The BHM association of academics, which represents 27 unions of academics, is now in its ninth week of strikes and the latest negotiation with state mediators ended without success and no further meeting has been scheduled. Páll Halldórsson, who leads the talks for the association, says a crisis could follow this autumn because the longer the strike continues, the more staff simply leave.

He says a third of radiologists have quit their jobs and many vets and midwives have started looking for jobs in the other Nordic countries, Vísir reported. The nurses’ strike continues, and both sides have yet to reach an agreement on suitable pay.

The vets’ strike is not only affecting the slaughter of farm animals for meat and the import of meat and certain other sensitive products, including honey and popping corn. One leading importer is looking to sue because whole containers of mixed imported food are sitting stranded on the dockside because just one of the sometimes dozens of different products they contain needs veterinary approval, meaning they cannot be opened.

Meanwhile members of the VR and LÍV unions are to be balloted on the new contract deal negotiated on their behalf. The online ballot ends on June 22 and the industrial action could be permanently settled. If members reject the deal, however, they could go on strike again from the beginning of July.

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