Deplorable to witness SA’s attitude (Video)

It is absurd to put all the responsibility in the fight against inflation on the shoulders of working people. Therefore collective agreements must contain clear prerequisite clauses to protect the interests of workers to be accepted. It is “deplorable to witness that SA sails the talks to shore due to intransigence regarding reasonable prerequisite clauses”.

This states Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, chairman of Efling, in a new video about the status of collective agreement negotiations sent to Efling’s members. The video can be found at the bottom of the article. 

As has been reported here on the website, the reason why The Union Alliance broke off negotiations with The Confederation of Employers (SA) is that the latter has rejected there will be acceptable prerequisite clauses built into the agreement. Prerequisite clauses are necessary to protect working people if the goals The Union Alliance has set are not achieved, the reduction of inflation and interest rates, and the government restoring the public transfer systems.

An agreement had been reached on the wage part of the contracts, as The Union Alliance offered modest salary increases. If the goals for inflation and the central bank’s key interest rates are achieved, the purchasing power of working people will also increase rapidly.

“But we have to include safeguards in the contracts if this does not happen. It is not possible to lock Efling’s members and other workers into long collective agreements, where modest wage demands are agreed upon if the economic success that is aimed at is not achieved. If that is the result, all the responsibility is thrown on the workers who bear the sole responsibility of working against inflation. Such an approach is, of course, completely absurd,” says Sólveig Anna.

Therefore it is impossible to sign a four-year contract with prerequisite clauses that do nothing to protect working people. “For those of us who lead negotiations on behalf of the majority of working people in Iceland, to be honest, deplorable to witness that SA sails the talks to shore due to intransigence regarding reasonable prerequisite clauses.”

Sólveig Anna also notes that Breiðfylkingin has accommodated SA at the negotiating table when it comes to prerequisite clauses, among other things in terms of periods.

Safeguards must be in place

In the video, Sólveig Anna states the requirements of The Union Alliance regarding the prerequisite clauses that must be included in collective agreements. Here on the website, it has previously been outlined what The Union Alliance’s demands entail. The article can be found here. Also, an article has been published regarding what prerequisite clauses are and why they are necessary in collective agreements. You can read that article here.

SA has presented its ideas on prerequisite clauses, but they do not contain numerical targets. Also, SA insists on the consent of both parties to terminate collective agreements. Those ideas, says Sólveig Anna, are completely unacceptable. “Furthermore, SA is now claiming that it is impossible to have prerequisite clauses in collective agreements regarding key interest rates, as this would compromise the central bank’s independence. Such rhetoric is completely absurd and shameful for SA. Of course, the central bank can do its thing, but the workforce cannot be made to bear all the responsibility for the country’s economic environment.”

The fact is that The Union Alliance’s stance is obvious and easy to understand, says Sólveig Anna. Prerequisite clauses are simply a safeguard for workers, which must be a part of collective agreements. “Hopefully, the SA realizes that their obstinacy regarding prerequisite clauses is ridiculous and will meet our demands so that we can finalize collective agreements without conflict.”