Expect SA to bring something to the table

The broad coalition of trade unions are meeting today again …

The broad coalition of trade unions are meeting today again after negotiations with SA came to a standstill on Friday February 9. Morgunblaðið/Eggert

The broad coalition of trade unions within the Confederation of Labour and the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) resumed negotiations this morning with the state conciliation and meditation officer, Ástþór Haraldsson. The coalition’s demands are largely unchanged, says VR chairman Ragnar Þór Ingólfsson.

Talks came to a standstill on Friday, February 9, almost two weeks ago. The broad coalition of trade unions broke the negotiations, saying that the main reason for the breakdown was a pre-condition for a roof for inflation and interest rates.

Guðmundur Helgi Þórarinsson, chairman of VM Union, talking to Eyjólfur …

Guðmundur Helgi Þórarinsson, chairman of VM Union, talking to Eyjólfur Árni Rafnsson, chairman of SA, before the meeting. mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson

Har­ald­sson says the continuation depends on how things go. Nothing has changed in the dispute since talks were ended, but the parties have been in communication, he added.

“If we’re lucky and everything goes well, I can see that we’ll move forward.”

Cautiously optimistic

When asked about the day’s meeting, Ragnar Þór Ingólfsson says he knows nothing about what to expect.

“Our demands are largely unchanged. A meeting is being called, so you expect the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise to come up with something. What it will be remains to be seen.”

Ragnar Þór Kjartansson, chairman of VR Union.

Ragnar Þór Kjartansson, chairman of VR Union. mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson

Ingólfsson says that the meeting of the day depends entirely on what the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise brings to the table. The mediator has stated before that he will not be voting for a meeting unless there is something new on the table, Ingólfsson added.

“I think it depends on how much they’re approaching us. If it’s significant and there’s some basis to discuss it, I expect that there’ll be a serious effort to address this.

The next steps depend on what the day has to offer

Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, chairwoman of the Efling Union, hopes for a long meeting with the state mediator today.

Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, chairwoman of Efling Union.

Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, chairwoman of Efling Union. mbl.is/Eggert Jóhannesson

As mentioned above, discussions were suspended due to disagreements over the preconditions for inflation and interest rates. When asked whether there have been any changes to the preconditions, she said she would see what opportunities the day presented.

She says the broad-based coalition has arrived at the meeting with a strong negotiation spirit.

“But we hope that the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise will be working with us.”

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