The state has already negotiated with high wage groups for wage raises far beyond those in the Quality of Life Agreement

31. 01, 2020

Research done by Efling covering wage tables in the new collective agreements of unions within BHM reveals that the state has already provided high wage groups with percentage raises far beyond the flat raise in kronas in the so-called Quality of Life Agreement.In the second article of said agreements with the BHM-members, it’s indicated that the raises during the agreement period are the same as in the Quality of Life Agreement, amounting to 68 thousand kronas.Considerable additional raises in the highest wages come to light, however, when the wage tables in the supporting documents are compared. There is no mention of these raises in the text of the agreement.The additional raises of employees with higher wages according to the wage tables of the abovementioned members of BHM apply to monthly wages ranging from 570 to 885 thousand kronas before the signing of the agreement. Raises in the wages within that range go much further than the flat raise in kronas of 68 thousand kronas, which the Quality of Life Agreement stipulates, and amount to well over one hundred thousand at their highest.In the case of wage bracket 22 at BHM, the total raise in wages amounts to 110.765 kr., which is 42.765 more than the flat raise in kronas stipulated by the Quality of Life Agreement.A comparison of the wage tables reveals that the raises seem to be adjusted so that none of the highest paid groups receive less than a 12,5% total raise in wages during the agreement period.The state has therefore converted the wage raises in kronas in the open labor market into percentage raises for state employees with higher wages.Also, the wage tables of BHM-members include new and higher wage brackets where the highest basic wages exceed 1.270 thousand. It seems that those brackets will also receive percentage raises beyond the Quality of Life Agreement.A member of BHM in wage bracket 22 will, at the end of the agreement period, have received a 63% higher wage raise in kronas than an employee in the open labor market who works above the wage rate and is paid according to the collective agreements of Efling or VR.The research of Efling into the collective agreement of the members of BHM thus demonstrates that the state has already negotiated with high wage groups in the Icelandic labor market for wage raises beyond those stipulated by the Quality of Life Agreement.The sums of these additional raises are comparable to the wage correction which Efling has demanded on behalf of the low wage workers employed by the city of Reykjavík.The proposals of Efling for a correction of the wages of the city’s lowest paid employees have been severely criticized by the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) for not being in accordance with the flat raises in kronas of the so-called Quality of Life Agreement. Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson has spoken of the Quality of Life Agreement as the mandatory framework for the negotiation of collective agreements and has used that line of reasoning to reject the proposals of Efling for a special correction of the lowest wages.