The negotiations committee of Efling tonight signed a collective contract with the Icelandic Association of Local Authorities which includes the raising of lowest salaries with a special additional payment modelled on Efling’s contract with Reykjavík City. With this, Efling celebrates victory in a long and tough bargaining struggle with the Association of Local Authorities on behalf of its members who work for the municipalities of Kópavogur, Seltjarnarnes, Mosfellsbær, Ölfus, and Hveragerði.
With the additional payment a comparable wage increase has been reached to that found in Efling’s contracts with the state, Reykjavík City and the Associated Icelandic Ports. These improvements for low wage workers in the municipalities, mostly women in care work, is a direct achievement of strike action and steadfast struggle of Efling members in the capital region since the start of February.
Other major elements in the contract is a total of 90.000 kr increase of base salaries over the duration of the contract, shortening of work hours, 61.000 kr annual contribution to a new members fund, and more.
“Once again Efling members in the least valued jobs in our society have shown that the even the most brutal institutions of power do not stand a chance against them when they step up with fighting spirits and unity. Once again they have proven that just and determined struggle of low wage workers through their union is not only our right but also something that achieves results,” said Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, the chairman of Efling, at the signing of the contract.
Efling’s struggle against the unions took place under very unusal circumstances. Unlike the state and Reykjavík City the Association of Local Authorities refused to finish negotiations with Efling before the Coronavirus epidemic reached its height in March. Rather than capitulate, the members’ negotiations committee decided to temporarily suspend the strike. The strike that began on March 9, approved with 90% of votes and participation of just under half of members, was postponed on March 24.
After the Easter holidarys, members voted on strike for a second time. Participation was 65%, much higher than in the first round of striking, and the strike was approved with just under 90% of votes. Strike began on Tuesday May 5 and created a lot of pressure on the municipalities, not least due to school closures.
The contract is signed pending approval of the 270 members who will work according to it. Efling will now begin presenting the contract to members and preparing for a vote.
The strike of Efling members against the Association of Local Authorities is cancelled. Members will return to their jobs in a usual manner according to their hiring contracts and starting tomorrow, Monday May 11.