Efling responds to the statment from the local authorities of Kópavogur

30. 01, 2021

The authorities of Kópavogur have issued a statement in response to an open letter sent by Efling yesterday, calling on Kópavogur to honor its commitments regarding the shortening of the work week.A response from the authorities of Kópavogur states that planning and preparation for the shortening of the work week have been carried out in accordance with given directions and in close collaboration with Samband íslenskra sveitarfélaga (Icelandic Association of Local Authorities), as well as other municipalities. There are detailed accounts in their statement of the appointment of committees on working-hours which consisted of administrators and staff, and which examined opportunities for shortening working hours at each workplace. It is stated that the proposals had been voted on and that a majority of employees had decided on how to proceed.Efling would like to point out that the committees on working hours were all run by the same employee at the municipal offices of Kópavogur. This employee pressured the members of Efling to accept the proposals of the committee. Members of the union were threatened with pay-cuts in the event of non-compliance with this employee’s wishes. In fact, the employee of Efling who represents ASÍ in the implementation group of the project noted critically that an employee of the municipal offices monopolized the work of the working-hours committees. This criticism was ignored.Efling maintains its view that it is utterly unacceptable how the local authorities of Kópavogur went about collaborating on the shortening of the work week of the members of Efling. Their procedure demonstrated severe disrespect to the employees of Efling. For instance, members of Efling who work in primary schools were pressured to accept that the shortening of the work week consisted only in continuing to get paid for days when the school is closed because of winter holidays and major holidays. That is presumably what is meant by the local authorities of Kópavogur by the following statement: “At some workplaces, the shortening had already been implemented, in part or fully.” This plainly means that no shortening of the work week has taken place.In a document attached to the current collective agreement, it is stipulated that cooperation or dialogue with employees is to take place regarding the implementation. It further states: “During the dialogue, proposals are to be made regarding the organization of the work and the time and duration of breaks where employees are given an opportunity to take nourishment. A special proposal is to be made for the organization of the working hours of those employees whose jobs don’t allow for flexible breaks and who need to be relieved of their duties from time to time.”According to the results of a survey conducted among the members of Efling employed by the local authorities of Kópavogur, this “dialogue” never took place and that little or no cooperation was sought from employees, and proposals were put forth which the staff was compelled to accept. The arrangement for home care workers included a stipulation that employees would no longer be paid for refreshment breaks and, thus, their wages would in fact be reduced. The aforementioned attachment clearly states, however, that no one is to receive a pay-cut as the work week is shortened.According to the statement issued by the local authorities of Kópavogur, the shortening of the work week is an improvement project which will bring about positive changes for the staff and that members of Efling who work there are a valuable group of employees in Kópavogur. These words are run utterly contrary to the facts of the matter. Efling calls on the local authorities of Kópavogur to implement the shortening of the work week fairly and justly. The intention of the municipal administrators can’t possibly be to let the absurd conclusion stand where the work week of the staff of the municipal offices is fully shortened while the work week of indespensable care workers is shortened only a little, or simply not at all?