The executive board of the Confederation of Enterprise (SA) made a unanimous decision to uphold the collective agreement signed with Icelandic Unions in April 2019, RÚV reports. The board has cancelled a vote planned for today on whether to pull out of the contract following the government’s presentation of measures to stabilise the labour market.
The collective agreement, signed in April 2019 and approved later that same month by union members, covers over 100,000 workers in 30 different unions in Iceland. Valid until November 1, 2022, the agreement raises minimum wage by ISK 90,000 ($650/€550) over the contract period. Due to the current economic crisis, caused by the global pandemic, the Confederation of Enterprise considered the premises for the wage agreement broken. Still, unions were not ready to back down and accept that wages wouldn’t be raised by the end of the year. Once the government stepped in and presented new measures intended to aid companies through the crisis, the executive board of the Confederation of Enterprise decided to uphold the contract.
A notice from the Confederation of Enterprise’s executive board stated that the decision was made after an assessment of the government’s actions. They consider cohesion in the labour market to be important and want to support it.
“[cohesion in the labour market] won’t be bought at any price. The union leadership had, unfortunately, not been ready to negotiate actions to respond to the sudden change in the economy,” the statement continues. The confederation of Enterprise laments that their ideas to postpone wage raises, extend the wage agreements, temporarily decrease the employers’ contribution to pension funds, or postpone wage agreement revision were all rejected without discussion by the Unions. That’s why the federation was forced to cooperate with the government to shape a collective response to the changed situation in the economy since the current wage agreement was signed.
“This statement is a testament to Confederation of Enterprise and the government’s communal responsibility and their will to lead this community through this depression,” the notice states.