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It is time for a radical response

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Last week Efling launched a campaign in support of a worker fired in retribution for being a union representative (""https://www.efling.is/en/2021/10/icelandair-attacks-a-union-rep-and-workers-rights/""). Rightfully so, Ólöf Helga Adolfsdóttur has our full solidarity.

I was a bit surprised at the strong reaction from the union. We have known several foreign workers over the years who were fired or simply removed from shift schedules in retribution for being a union representative. It is common practice in the tourism and restaurant sector. There was no campaign for them, no attempt by the union to get their job back, only a legal case that took about two years and ended with the workers maybe getting a pay out of two or three months wages.



This is why firing of representatives are so common for foreign workers. There are very few consequences for employers and it is very much worth paying a bit of money to get rid of an active worker, who can make sure their coworkers rights are respected and send a message that anyone can be fired for speaking up.

My brilliant comrade said last year over coffee, that the rights abuses foreign workers have been experiencing for years will also affect Icelandic workers once the economic downturn from Covid sets in. This is also not the first time Icelandair is blatantly braking Icelandic labour law with the full support of the SA (Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise). Earlier this year they fired striking workers, something we made a video about (""https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RH4tg9mh1o"") and something that they faced zero consequences for, because ASÍ (the Icelandic Confederation of Labour) was very concerned about preserving the peace on the labour market. I cannot help but see the actions of Icelandair in the past as a concentrated effort to erode union rights in Iceland, especially as both times they had the full backing of the SA. Which is why the statement of Ragnar Þór Ingólfsson, chairmain of VR union “I find it quite unlikely that a company in the position that [Icelandair] is in will go to war with the union movement” (""https://www.visir.is/g/20212166353d/med-o-likindum-ad-icelandair-aetli-i-strid-vid-verka-lyds-hreyfinguna"") gave me quite a headache.



Our rights are under attack. Whether it is in the small scale of union representatives getting fired or a full on attack on the right to strike, employers are trying to introduce radical changes to the labour market. It is time for a radical response by the unions.


Picture of the week - More volcano pictures!

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Y'all didn't really think I was done with volcano related posts? I went last month for the second time. This time we could see the lava flow and made some perfect pictures:

volcano_with_lava_colour

olcano_with_lava_bw




Picture of the week - Birds in Flight

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Both pictures are 20 - 40 pictures combined to show the flight paths of birds in front of Reykjavik harbour.

Birds_in_flight1

Birds_in_flight2


Socialized Health Care

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I got my second vaccination this week! Like thousands of others I was asked to come to Laugardalshöll, the only indoor arena in Iceland. Last time I was here was for a Sigur Rós concert.

The vaccinations are surprisingly well organised. Actually, I generally think I have been unfair on Icelanders on their ability to organise things. The management of the crowds at the eruption (creating parking spaces, hiking paths and keeping everyone safe and informed) has been exceptional.
The vaccination organisation could have been set to music. The rows of chairs emptying and filling like clockwork, nurses moving synchronized from row to row. It took about half an hour for 400 people to be vaccinated, during one day the amount of people vaccinated were thousands.

All of this was organised by the state run health care centres, with the nurses being the unsung heroes, as usual. The Icelandic state as repeatedly screwed the nurses in collective agreement negotiations, last one was last year, in the middle of the epidemic. No matter who is in government, each is happy to use the government's to restrict the nurses right to strike to force them into compromises. I hope that maybe in the next negotiations everyone remembers how much the nurses stepped up during the epidemic and comes out with them in solidarity.



The smoke rising from the mountains behind me? That is the volcano.


Picture of the week - Girl at pool

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girl_at_pool

All the things I miss: family, sun and woods


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