More than resignations are necessary to stop the bullying and violence faced by employees of Efling Union, Anna Marjankowska, a former Efling board member, told Iceland Review. Efling’s chairperson Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir and CEO Viðar Þorsteinsson have both resigned after Efling employee representatives released a statement of no-confidence in Sólveig Anna. She has denied accusations of intimidation and bullying.
Efling is Iceland’s second-largest labour union, representing around 27,000 members who work in public service, healthcare, and other industries. Marjankowska joined the board of Efling in April 2018, not long after Sólveig Anna took over as chair, and says she was forced to quit due to bullying in September 2019. “I had to stop my activity in Efling after the violence I faced representing office staff members who received unfair treatment,” she stated. “Efling and ASÍ should be an example for other workplaces and if they do not address bullying and lack of transparency then they’re giving a green light to use them as tools of ‘management’.”
Marjankowska stated that Sólveig Anna and Viðar’s resignations did not surprise her. “They are the most responsible for the culture of bullying in the office, when I refused to stay silent about illegal dismissals in the office, they bullied me directly though others pressured me to resign from the board.” More than resignations are needed to change working conditions within Efling, Marjankowska says. “What the union needs is to serve the workers, make new policies and follow them. People need to take responsibility and change their behaviour. Quitting does not hold people accountable.”
Marjankowska also expressed concern about who would lead Efling in the upcoming contract negotiations. “How will they be managed? Who will represent the rights of foreign workers?” She added that several employees of foreign origin were the targets of bullying within Efling, including Christina Milcher and Maxim Baru, external organisers of a 2019 strike, but they were silenced.