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Blacklist project frustration

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I spent a big amount of my time this spring creating a blacklist website for my union. It is stuck in limbo now because basically this:



It is just frustrating when you try to do something and people think it's ok to be shitty to you. Anyone who has experience with threat modeling and wants to help let me know.
Posted on - Categories: IWW


Strike - update

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Another day - another protest. Me and my fellow workers were back in front of parliament last Friday. This was the 3rd time in 2 weeks that we were protesting after 10 days of ongoing strike actions and stalled negotiations. The government, who had refused to negotiate with its workers before the negotiations in the private sector were over and then had refused to consider any collective agreement, but a carbon copy of the one of the private sector, finally decided to do what it wanted to do in the first place and created a law to take our right to strike away.

Wages in the public sector are lower than in the private sector for people with university degrees. Furthermore public institutions are not flexible enough in their financial management to be able to offer competitive prices.
Healthcare workers in the other Scandinavian countries have a much higher purchase power than in Iceland. As it is easy to get a license in any Scandinavian country with an Icelandic degree the brain drain has been enormous. After the ham-handed way the government handed the negotiations with the workers, even more are thinking of moving abroad, especially nurses, which means the decreased services which had endangered patients well being during the strike is probably going to become the norm in Iceland.

Maybe it is just another move in the continuing effort of the current government to dismantle the public healthcare system.

As a supporter of industrial unionism it was encouraging to see my union BHM to stand in solidarity with the Nurses Union. As workers of the same industry our concerns and demands aligned and we did not let us be played against each other but stood together in solidarity. I also experienced a lot of support at work from other health care workers who did not to belong to our union. The general opinion seemed to be that it is an issue of a struggling healthcare system and that it is in danger of losing an important part of the workforce if working conditions do not improve.


Posted on - Categories: Politics IWW


Health care in Iceland

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The administrators of Expat-Blog asked in the Forum to write some information about the Icelandic Health Care system. Considering I'm working in it, I decided to answer.

The health care system in Iceland is a NHS style system, which means everyone is covered by the Icelandic Health Insurance, which is financed via taxes.
There is no private system to speak of, but the current government is working hard on changing that, crippling the public health care system while a private hospital is planned to be built.

Immigrants who have been legally residing in Iceland for 6 month are automatically covered. If one is from an EEA country can get coverage via the European Health Insurance Card or is insured directly if one has been insuread/resided in one of the EEA member states 6 month previously. One has to request form E104 (or form E106/E109/E121) from their previous insurance provider and submit it to the Icelandic Health Insurance.
For none Europeans see here.

Even for insured patients there are quite a lot of out of pocket payments, for example for interventions, such as physiotherapy, psychological care or medication (often even for life threatening or chronic conditions, such as heart medication or cancer). The out of pocket payments are paid up to a certain amount, after which the insurance will pay a higher percentage or all. The out of pocket payments for medicine can be up to 62.000kr (425kr) in a 12 month period.
For one physiotherapy session alone one can expect to pay around 4000kr (25€) out of pocket.

Dental care is not covered by the Icelandic Health Insurance.

This is where the trade unions come in. Almost everyone (85%) who is employed is in a union. They play an important part in the social security system, offering financial support for holiday, education and healthcare. Unions will often refund part or all of the out of pocket payments for medication, dental care or therapies. They also have sick day funds for after sick pay rights expire (even for sick spouses or kids!) and disability funds.
See the these two links as an example: http://vr.is/english/sick-payfund/ http://vr.is/english/grants/
One can find out which union you belong to by checking your working contract or your payslip (union dues are taken automatically from the wages)


First of May

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This was actually my first May Day parade ever. Where I was from in Germany we were too busy trying to catch boyfriends or admirers setting up birch trees in front of our house and pouring water over them. Really, this is a thing: http://www.dw.de/in-germany-say-i-love-you-with-a-birch/a-16772753

Yes, not very revolutionary, but am making up for it now...

Walking in the parade:


IWW members rousing the rabble (and waving red flags with the black cat on it):

Posted on - Categories: IWW


Chinese worker's strike update

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I got a reply from the Adidas Group concerning the situation in the Yue Yuen factory. It is a hilarious letter, some excerpts are below

We were closely monitoring the situation at the production site from the beginning. In order to minimise the impact on our operations, we reallocated some of the future orders originally allocated to Yue Yuen Dongguan to other suppliers. But we never intended to pull out of the Yue Yuen factory in Dongguan and we have no plans to do so.



And here is why we need an international labour movement, if companies can minimise the impact of a strike, what leverage do workers have to negotiate?

It is our understanding that the insurance contributions which YY had been providing, together with corresponding deductions from the workers, were in accordance with an agreement which they had reached with the Dongguan authorities and the local social insurance bureau.



Read corruption here. The letter fails to mention that the same local authorities used riot police against the protesting workers and incarcerated labour rights activists.

YY has now committed to achieve full compliance with the national requirements by May 1st 2014



Yay! The strike ended last week, additional to the contribution in the insurance funds, workers also got a pay raise and other benefits.

Some links:
https://www.chinalaborwatch.org/news/new-482.html
https://www.chinalaborwatch.org/news/new-484.html
https://www.chinalaborwatch.org/news/new-486.html


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