The negotiations committee of Efling – union harshly critiques how the pretext of a short-term contract has been used to disarm the trade union movement and force a collective agreement that offers workers a decrease in purchasing power in the times of a raging economic growth. The situation is that the majority of Efling members has a lot of financial worries, and the homes of low-income workers are run with a deficit. An almost 10% inflation and criminal rent increases of landlords have made this problem much worse. At the same time there is economic growth, and the profits of companies are at such highs that have not been seen since the years of the financial bubble of 2005-2008.
Trickery has been used in the public debate to make the collective agreements look better than they really are. These contracts are called a continuation of the 2019 agreements, although they are the opposite as they are based on percentage increases and in addition they do not secure any increases in purchasing power. The GDP bonus, that members would have gotten anyway, is marketed as the result of this round of collective bargaining. Members are thus subjected to the humiliation of voting for the second time about the same pay raise.
The lesson of the mistakes of the last couple of weeks is that workers do not succeed in negotiations by letting the chairmen of the unions disappear into a locked room with representatives of employers and throwing away the key. Success is achieved when members are directly involved in the bargaining and are informed at every stage of the process and stand united behind the leadership.
The Efling negotiations committee has been systematically excluded from these negotiations. Requests about negotiations meetings have been answered late and poorly. The prime minister ignored both the negotiations committee and the chairman of Efling when she invited to meetings and talks about the involvement of the government. This is no coincident: the representatives of employers and public authorities fear nothing as much as large, strong, and united groups of workers.
If Icelandic workers agree to the collective agreement which now has been put under a vote it is clear that it is a great defeat. This defeat will be a terrible baggage to bring into the negotiations about the renewal of the contract which will expire in just over one year.
If our message to employers and public authorities now is that due to our own weakness, we are compelled to accept being taken advantage of, why the hell should we reach a better result a year from now?
Agreed upon in the meeting of the negotiations committee on December 13 2022