On the mass layoffs of Kynnisferðir

Efling regrets the mass layoffs of 59 workers at Kynnisferðir. The bulk of them are bus drivers who work under the Efling collective agreement. The union has kept a close eye on how the case proceeds and taken care that the rights of the union’s members are upheld, such as their rights to union activism. Union members have precedence to the jobs, which means they can not be laid off before other staff in the same position.

On Tuesday and Thursday, union representatives and Efling staff attended a meeting with representatives of the company and of the employers’ cartel, SA. The chair and managing director of Efling also attended a staff meeting in the headquarters of Kynnisferðir on Thursday afternoon, where the layoffs were announced.Leaders of the company have been told by representatives of Efling that mass layoffs at a time of tense negotiations are cause for concern. Strikes have been called on the company, both among tour bus drivers as of last Friday, as well as among city bus (strætó) drivers as of next Monday. Employees of the company have voted on strikes, done strike patrolling and been at the forefront of the industrial disputes in various ways.Employers are not allowed to intervene in the union activism of their employees by laying them off or threatening to do so. This is made clear in article 4 of laws no 80/1938 on unions and industrial disputes.Representatives of Efling have encouraged union representatives and staff at Kynnisferðir to get union assistance if they have suspicions about the reasons for their dismissal. We repeat that the grievance division of Efling services all members in cases of unpaid wages or related disagreements.Efling has emphasised chapter 6 of its collective agreement with SA, where priority is established for Efling members to the jobs that the contract applies to. When the strikes of Efling and VR were about to start last week, Kynnisferðir proclaimed that the company had several drivers who were registered in other unions, or none at all, and that they were free to break the strike. It is clear that these individuals can not enjoy priority when it comes to mass layoffs. Efling and VR have made it clear to Kynnisferðir that this is their understanding of chapter 6.Efling repeats, as before, that anyone who would like to is free to contact the union office to correct their union registration.