Around 1,850 City of Reykjavík employees who are members of Efling Union began an indefinite strike at midnight last night. The Union’s chairperson believes it will be a long one. The strike will affect preschools, elementary schools, welfare services, and waste management services in the city.
“If the City of Reykjavík’s negotiation committee and those in the city with authority don’t start to realise the seriousness of the situation and the great responsibility they certainly bear, yes I fear this strike will be a long one,” Efling’s chairperson Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir chairperson, told RÚV. Negotiations between the city and the union have not been successful and no further meetings are scheduled at this time.
Preschools and welfare services affected
Around 130 schools, preschools, and other places of employment will be missing staff today due to the Efling workers’ strike. Some preschools will be closed due to the strike, while others will take measures to stay open, such as dividing children into two groups and providing half-day care for each.
Certain workers who provide services to disabled, elderly, and otherwise vulnerable populations have been exempted from the strike action, which according to Sólveig Anna reveals “how important the work of my [union] members is and how incredibly disgraceful it is to employ them at this discount price which has been tolerated here.”
Larger strike looming
Another, larger strike could be on the horizon in March. Members of BSRB, the Federation of State and Municipal Employees, are currently voting on whether to strike indefinitely from March 9. Some 18,000 workers across the country would participate in the stoppage, affecting preschools, primary schools, and health care services.