Proposed Lockout Legal, Labour Court Rules

Halldór Benjamín Þorbergsson SA Icelandic Confederation of Enterprise

The Icelandic Confederation of Enterprise (SA) had the legal right to call a lockout of Efling Union workers in the ongoing wage negotiations between the two parties, Iceland’s Labour Court has ruled. SA was also legally allowed to let all of its member companies vote on the lockout, even those that do not have Efling Union workers on their payroll, according to the ruling. The lockout and workers’ strikes have been postponed while Efling members vote on a mediating proposal. RÚV reported first.

Lockout would affect over 20,000 workers

The Labour Court case is the fourth legal case filed in Iceland’s most tense wage negotiations in decades. When negotiations came to a halt in February, SA held a vote on whether to impose a lockout on Efling workers. The pending lockout would affect all members of Efling, around 21,000 in total, neither allowing them to show up to work, receive a wage, nor accrue benefits and leave.

All member companies of SA were permitted to vote on the proposed lockout, and it was approved with just under 95% of the votes in favour. The Icelandic Confederation of Labour (ASÍ), Efling Union’s parent organisation, protested the fact that companies without Efling workers on their payroll were permitted to vote on the lockout and filed a case with the Labour Court, demanding the lockout be deemed unlawful. The Labour Court has now ruled in favour of SA.

Vote on mediating proposal

The lockout has been postponed until March 9, as Efling members are currently voting on a mediating proposal put forth by the state mediator on March 1. Voting closes at 10:00 AM on March 8. As such, the ruling has no immediate effect on the negotiations, though it would if Efling members reject the mediating proposal. Efling workers’ strikes, which had led to the temporary closure of several hotels in the Reykjavík capital area, have also been postponed while the votes are cast.

Reykjavík Court Rules in Favour of Lúsífer

Héraðsdómur Reykjavíkur Reykjavík District Court

The Reykjavík District Court has revoked a Naming Committee ruling preventing an Icelandic man from adopting the name Lúsífer. The man, named Ingólfur Örn Friðriksson, applied to change his second name to Lúsífer in December 2019. The Icelandic Naming Committee, which must give approval for all names that are not in the national registry, denied the application on the basis that Lúsífer is one of the names for the devil and could therefore do the name bearer harm. The Icelandic state has been ordered to pay ISK 900,000 ($7,480/€6,130) in legal costs.

Ingólfur sued the state after his name change was denied on the grounds that the decision violated his religious freedom. Ingólfur adheres to LaVeyan Satanism and has been a member of the Church of Satan since 2001. He argued that Lúsífer means “bearer of light” and the name was not the name of the devil, but rather “the name of the supreme angel of God who was later cast down to hell where he became the devil.” Ingólfur has been using the name Lúsífer for around 20 years when he applied for the official change.

According to the modern Icelandic dictionary, Lúsífer is not used as a name for the devil, but it is the Icelandic name of a deep-sea fish known as the Atlantic footballfish. The fish is a sort of “light-bearer:“ it uses a luminous bulb to attract smaller fish in the dark depths of the ocean. The name Lúsífer was also used historically to refer to the planet Venus.

Read More: Bill Introduced to Abolishing Naming Committee

The Icelandic Naming Committee maintains a register of approved Icelandic given names and governs the introduction of new names into Icelandic culture. Its existence has been a topic of debate in recent years. Parents who want to give a child a name that is not included on the register must apply to the committee for an exception. Given names must conform to Icelandic grammar rules and it is forbidden to take on a new family name (most Icelanders have patronymics).