Preschool Staff, Street Cleaners Vote On Strike Skip to content
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Preschool Staff, Street Cleaners Vote On Strike

A strike vote among Efling Union members working for the City of Reykjavík begins today. Around 1,800 employees of the City of Reykjavík work under Efling’s collective agreements, RÚV reports. Over 1,000 of them work at preschools, 710 in the caretaking division of the city’s Welfare Department, and around 140 in various jobs within its Environmental and Planning Department. Preschool teachers and street cleaners would be among those who strike.

Efling chairperson Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir told RÚV that 10 months of negotiation with the City have not gone well. Sólveig criticised the City’s negotiators for illegally disclosing the content of negotiations to the press, thus violating the confidentiality of the meetings. She described the atmosphere of meetings as undignified and disrespectful toward Efling and its members.

“I mean who in this city, or just in this country, can imagine this society without for example the preschools being open? And who works in these preschools, who keeps them running? It’s my union members, the people of Efling, the people of this city,” Sólveig stated.

Union members have from noon today until noon on Sunday to vote on whether to strike. If approved, strike actions would begin on February 4.

Higher wages, not fewer hours

One of Efling’s proposals for the new contract is shortening the working week for preschool employees. Not everyone agrees, however, that a shorter workweek is the best way to address working conditions in preschools. In a group letter published by Kjarninn, 15 women argue that decreasing hours at preschools would increase women’s childcare burden, affecting their participation in the labour market. The action that’s needed, they assert, is to raise the low wages in the profession.

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