Iceland: No end in sight to ongoing strike
Icelandic high-school and technical school teachers have now been on strike for nine days. Negotiations are faltering, due to a government offer on 25 March that was lower than what was offered the week prior to the strike. A new high school law will be implemented in 2015, but Iceland’s Government appears reluctant to pay for the costs implied by the necessary changes to the curriculum and the definition of teachers’ working hours.
Strike centers have been established in the biggest towns around the country, with the largest one in the capital, Reykjavik, where 25 per cent of striking educators have turned up daily.
“A big demonstration will be organised in the next few days, and we expect demonstration activities to escalate with each day that passes without an agreement,” said Thordur A. Hjaltested, President of EI’s national affiliate, the Kennarasamband Islands. “The teachers’ morale is good, and we will not back down from our demand for a salary raise that will give us the same remuneration level as other university graduated or specialist-trained state-employed professionals.”
EI: Decent salary necessary
EI has expressed solidarity with its Icelandic colleagues. “We reiterate our call on Icelandic public authorities to engage in negotiations in good faith with KI and organisations representing educators to reach to an agreement,” said EI General Secretary, Fred van Leeuwen. “We insist that teachers and education professionals receive quality professional training and they must be given a decent salary commensurate with their professional qualifications.”