Fish workers strike declared illegal –

Fish workers strike declared illegal Published:  08 February, 2011

FISH processors in Iceland were breathing a sigh of relief this week after a threatened strike by fish workers was ruled to be illegal.

The first three day  strike, by fish meal and fish oil personnel in the Westmann Islands and in the east of the country was due to have started yesterday. A further three stoppage was then scheduled for later in the month with an indefinite walk threatened towards the end of the month there was no agreement.

But Iceland’s Court for Industrial Disputes intervened at the request of the employers and ruled against the unions. The court said the reason for their action was because the dispute had not been formally dealt with by the official mediator.  The union concerned has now asked for a  mediator to step in a bid to find a solution.  It now seems likely that eventual strike action will be considerably delayed.

But the union has warned the employers that the threat remains if they do not come up with what they feel is a satisfactory offer. Iceland is in the middle of the capelin season when large quantitiesof fish are landed in addition to the regular landings of cod and haddock. A prolonged stoppage by fish meal workers could cause problems for Iceland’s fish processors because there would have been no-one to process the fish waste which will have to be disposed of at some point.

Meanwhile, The Icelandic Government’s rocky relationship with the fishing industry over issues like taxation and fishing management reform looks set to intensify.The Minister of Fisheries, Jon Bjarnason, and his staff have just finished  drafting a new legislation for fisheries management and this will be submitted for parliamentary debate before the end of this month   Nothing much has been revealed about the changes to be expected but the minister has said that the interests of the local communities will be very much on his mind.  However, they are not likely to be met with enthusiasm by the industry.