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Wage Negotiations On Hold

Negotiations For New Collective Agreement On Hold

Wage negotiations have now been ongoing since the ASÍ unions that came together in a broad coalition, formulated their demands for wage demands, and the ideas for priorities regarding the involvement of the government, towards the end of 2023. There was considerable optimism around that time, that with moderate wage demands, negotiations for a new collective agreement with the Icelandic Employers Association (SA) would be less complicated and could be rapidly concluded. Particularly since there would be common interest in keeping prices down, driving down inflation and achieving lower interest rates. It was seen as an important part of that, that the government would be involved to strengthen the welfare and wealth transfer system, which are critical to support those most affected by high inflation, high interest rates and skyrocketing cost of housing.

The aim of the negotiations was to reach a collective agreement in which some risk was taken regarding price developments. With the risk being limited through conditional clauses, which would give workers protection if price developments were unfavorable. In short, SA was not particularly willing to accept the ideas of the commerce unions regarding the conditional clauses, and so towards the end of the month, the commerce workers unions decided to break away from the broad coalition. After which a broad negotiation committee of the VR with representatives of the VR being Ragnar Þór Ingólfsson, Bjarni Þór Sigurðsson, Halla Gunnarsdóttir, Ólafur Reimar Gunnarsson, Selma Björk Grétarsdóttir and Þórir Hilmarsson, and on behalf of the Commercial Federation of Iceland Eiður Stefánsson.

LÍV is the largest national union of workers in the private sector in Iceland, and this negotiation committee will now take the member associations' demands forward in discussions with employers on a new collective agreement for the commerce sector in Iceland.