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Lockouts and strikes

Q&A concerning the SA lockout

VR has asked that all members of LÍV be made aware of the following concerning lockouts and strikes

The SA lockout

What is a lockout?

A lockout is when employers call for a work stoppage in order to advance their demands in a labor dispute. A work stoppage is a strike if a union takes action, but a lockout is when employers do so. The Act on Trade Unions and Industrial Disputes applies to strikes and their implementation.

When employers resort to a lockout, employees are sent home and do not receive further wages from the employer during the action. The board of the trade union against which the strike is directed can decide whether members of the union will be compensated for the loss of income they suffer in part or in full.

In general, the same rules apply to work during strikes and lockouts. The employees who perform the work against which the strike is directed have an obligation to stop working.

Who does the lockout by SA, due to begin 2 March cover?

The lockout notice covers all jobs covered by Efling's and SA's collective bargaining agreements on the general market (SA, Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise).

Can you work during a lockout?

The same rules apply to work during a lockout as to strikes. Those against whom the lockout is directed are not allowed to work. An exemption is granted by SA.

What effect does the lockout have on VR union members?

VR is not involved in a labor dispute with SA, and therefore employers are required to pay employees, who do not perform work covered by Efling's collective agreement, wages even if the company is closed due to a lockout.

The Commercial Federation of Iceland (LÍV) and VR have signed a collective agreement with SA, therefore there is a no-strike clause in effect between these parties. The SA website states that employers can remove employees, who do not work according to the collective agreement between Efling and SA, from the payroll. Here, SA is referring to Article 3. Act no. 19/1979 and claim that this group can apply for unemployment benefits. VR rejects this interpretation and will send wage demands to companies on behalf of VR's members if their wages are not paid.

SA has a labor dispute fund and members of SA should be able to apply for benefits to that fund for salaries to VR members.

The Efling strike

Are VR union members allowed to take on the work duties of those who are on strike?

No, VR members are not allowed to work the jobs of those who are on strike.

If a VR member usually comes to work in his/her own car, is unable to do so due to fuel shortages, what is their legal status?

The employee has to come to work and must therefore find another way to travel. If there is no other means of travel, the employer must be informed at the first opportunity and in advance so that the employer can make arrangements. The employer does not have to pay wages for that time.

Should employees come to work at a time when buses do not run, cf. art. 3.4. in the collective agreement between VR and SA, the employer must pay for the resulting costs.

Do product shortages affect VR members?

If there is a product shortage in the store due to Efling's strike, it will not affect the wages of VR's members, as VR is not a party to this strike. If an employer sends employees home, they still have to pay them wages.

Note: as this is a translated text, please refer to the Icelandic version on the VR website to ensure accuracy.