A new board under the leadership of Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir took over the helm of Efling during the annual general meeting of the union at Hótel saga on Wednesday, May 20th. The vice-chairman of the board is Agnieszka Ewa Ziólkowska. The other members of the board of Efling are Eva Ágústsdóttir, Kolbrún Valvesdóttir, Guðmundur Baldursson, Daníel Örn Arnarsson, Michael Bragi Whalley, Innocentia Fiati, Felix Kofi Adjahoe, Ólöf Helga Adolfsdóttir, Jóna Sveinsdóttir, Stefán E. Sigurðsson, Úlfar Snæbjörn Magnússon, Zsófía Sidlovits and Þorsteinn M. Kristjánsson. The candidate-list of Sólveig Anna ran unopposed and was therefore elected automatically. During the meeting, there was also a declaration of the newly elected boards of the union’s funds.
During a review of the board’s report, Sólveig Anna went over the fierce wage struggles in which the members of Efling were involved this winter. “As I took over as chairman many people told me that nobody wanted militant labor struggles, that people wanted to continue down the path of class cooperation which had been the main path for so long. But as you well know, the opposite has proved to be true. The results of the strike votes which we’ve called demonstrate uniquely and unequivocally the actual will of the workers and that we most certainly know what our most effective weapon is; mass solidarity in strikes, which is how we push for wage increases and agreements which we can accept,” she said in that context.
Sólveig Anna reminded everyone that the office had been reorganized with the aim of improving its inner workings and improve its services to the members on September 2nd of last year. That the changes had led to powerful development- and service-projects for the benefit of an ever-growing membership. Sólveig Anna mentioned among other things that a new service system had been implemented for the reception area of Efling and that the implementation process of the so-called “Mínar síður” had been launched. That the staff of Efling had worked tirelessly on solving the complex problems brought to them by the members, assisted in the election of union representatives and visit workplaces and schools for the purposes of education. Last, but not least, she stated that valuable work had been done with regards to the allocation and construction of vacation houses.
Efling is now the second largest union in the country with almost 27.000 union members. Over 55% of the union’s members are of foreign origin, with Polish people being the largest group. After them there are Lithuanians, Latvians, Romanians and Filipinos. The record shows that a special effort was launched to improve the access of union members of foreign origin to information regarding wage struggles and other union operations through the website of the union, its Facebook-site and other avenues. The website of Efling is set up in three languages and the office workers are qualified to provide union members with services in 9 languages. The Efling newsletter and the annual report are published in Icelandic and English.
Benóní Torfi Eggertsson, accountant at Efling from the accounting firm Deloitte, said that the union’s financial standing was good. The equity of Efling amounts to over 13,5 billion kronas and income exceeded costs by 540 million kronas during the past year. The union’s funds are sturdy although the sickness benefits fund ran a deficit because of increased demand for grants from the fund during the past year. The fund’s financial standing will be reviewed. There have also been more applications for grants from the sickness benefits funds of other unions in the past few years.
Viðar Þorsteinsson, managing director of Efling, said that the annual statement of Efling reflected the union’s expanding operations during the past operating year. He added that the union’s financial standing was solid and that there was no reason for alarm about the temporary reduction in premiums because of the Covid-19 pandemic. He said that for the first time this year, each division crafted its own budget. That disciplined financial management was thus ensured. After discussions, the annual statement of Efling was approved unanimously.