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Strike - update

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


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