Strike at the Rio Tinto Aluminium Factory in Straumsvík, Iceland

The aluminium plant is located in Straumsvík, about 15 minutes ...

The aluminium plant is located in Straumsvík, about 15 minutes from Reykjavik. Árni Sæberg

Employees of the Rio Tinto Alcan aluminium factory in Straumsvík went on strike at midnight. Picket guards stopped all transfer of alumnium to a cargo ship at this morning as directors of the smelter tried to take over the duties of the harbourworkers.

Gylfi Arnbjörnsson, president of the Icelandic Labour Conferdation (ASÍ) confirmed this to "We believe it is a clear offence that a large group of people are taking over the duties of the harbour labourers."

The main issue at stake is the demand of Rio Tinto employees for no new contracting powers for operations at the plant to be authorised.

The strike at Rio Tinto Alcan means that no aluminium produced at the smelter will be distributed or shipped abroad. 

"What the future holds will just have to remain to be seen," said Arnbjörnsson. "The company and SA Business Iceland will just have to decide what action they want to take next."

Related stories: 

Aluminium plant threatened with strike

Rio Tinto strike called off


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