Open letter from the negotiating committee of Efling to Dagur B. Eggertsson

Today, the press ran an open letter from the negotiating committee of Efling to mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson regarding the City of Reykjavík.Efling has invited the mayor over for negotiations in Iðnó on Wednesday, January 22nd at 1pm where the negotiating committee of Efling will present its proposal to the city for a fair and viable collective agreement which is to remain valid until the end of 2022.

We demand a correction!

Open letter from the negotiating committee of Efling to mayor Dagur B. EggertssonWe, the members of Efling working for the City of Reykjavík, have been without a collective agreement for over 10 months. We demand a new collective agreement where our plight is acknowledged and addressed. The long-standing undervaluation of the work done by female workers is demeaning, our patience is at an end.We want you, the superior of all the city’s employees, to look us in the eye and listen to us. We want you to absorb important facts regarding our work, our wages and the circumstances in which we find ourselves.Undervalued work for the lowest wagesWe’re the ones who keep the basic services of the city running and provide the most vulnerable groups with vital care-work. Our work relieves others of their burden of care and enables them to participate in the labor market.Wage research shows that municipal workers are the lowest paid group in our society, as compared with state workers and those in the open labor market. After the new period of prosperity subsequent to the economic crash, we’ve maintained the basic services of the City, despite having been severely undermanned because of the flight of workers from the city’s low-wage policy into other workplaces. You have not yet solved this problem.Ever deteriorating circumstancesSome of us, for instance those of us who work in preschools, have no access to overtime or shift work, which is often the only means available to low wage earners to increase their income. None of us can negotiate individual wage increases as is possible in the open labor market.The expansion in the housing market of Reykjavík has resulted in our disposable income being swallowed up by the flames of rent-hikes. After the economic crash of 2008, we had to maintain the city’s basic services through brutal funding cuts. Many of us live in poverty because of the wages which you see fit to offer us.The health of low wage earners encroached upon You make much of the fact that the City of Reykjavík is a progressive workplace. Yet you maintain a vicious low wage policy with regards to us, and no attempt has been made to alter it since the year 2005.Female low-wage earners in physically challenging work are more likely than other groups to suffer from the illnesses and ailments which can lead to disability. We want wages and circumstances which enable us to do our work without risking the premature loss of our health.We demand that you correct the indignity to which the City of Reykjavík has subjected us. It is within your power, and that of the city council, to do so.A demand for a fair correctionDuring negotiations, we have put forth a proposal for a simple and reasonable correction similar to the one implemented by Steinunn Valdís Óskarsdóttir in 2005 when she was mayor.We are here. We are about to go on strike. We will fight until we have been acknowledged and until we have been provided with a living wage.The city is in our hands!The negotiating committee of Efling with the City of Reykjavík