The Union Alliance refers the collective bargaining dispute to the state mediator

Crossroads have been reached in the negotiations between the Union Alliance, coalition of the largest national confederations and labor unions in the general labor market, with the Confederation of Employers (SA). After a number of meetings, it has become clear that SA does not agree with the Union Alliance’s moderate approach.

The Union Alliance expressed in a statement on January 17th its concerns about the incomprehensible turnaround in SA’s stance. The Union Alliance pointed out there was not a cohesion between SA’s official statements between Christmas and New Year and what has been presented in practice at the negotiating table.

At today’s negotiation meeting, SA presented an offer in which they offered lower wage increases than in their previously submitted offer from January 17 last. Such progress in collective bargaining negotiations is unheard of and calls for the parties to reconsider their approach.

The Union Alliance has never wavered from the goal of concluding a long-term collective agreement based on moderate flat wage increases, as the goal is to quickly bring down inflation and interest rates as soon as the government makes a long-overdue adjustment to child, housing and interest benefits. The Union Alliance presented its well elaborated proposals, including detailed requirements regarding salary, to the SA on December 28th. Since then the Union Alliance has also submitted new offers, where SA’s demands have been met.

The Union Alliance regrets how the situation has evolved and that SA has not seized the opportunity that was up for grabs in negotiations on this basis.

For these reasons, the Union Alliance has decided to formally refer the wage dispute to the state mediator today. It means that a mediator takes over control of the negotiations and the unions move closer to being able to use the resources allowed by the labor legislation after  negotiations have been fully tried.

On behalf of the Union Alliance

Eiður Stefánsson, chairman of the negotiation committee of Landssamband íslenzkra verzlunarmanna

Hilmar Harðarson, chairman of Samiðn – samband iðnfélaga

Ragnar Þór Ingólfsson, chairman of VR

Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, chairman of Efling stéttarfélag

Vilhjálmur Birgisson, chairman of Starfsgreinasamband Íslands