The negotiations committee of Efling, composed of members from many sectors of the labour market, now works hard to draft the demands on SA (Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise). The committee has held three well attended meetings this week. The plan is to deliver the demands to SA this coming Monday, and subsequently demands will be made on the state and regarding the pension fund system.
A core of about 40 active members and union reps are the backbone of the negotiations committee. This week’s meetings have discussed the expectations for the coming collective agreements, Efling’s experience from bargaining in the last couple of years, the tasks and role of negotiations committees, and the laws on the making collective agreements were reviewed.
Group work has been used, and the opinions and voices of committee members have been systematically sought. As in all Efling events, the meetings have been text translated between English and Icelandic on screen, and slide shows have been translated. Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, chairman of Efling, who is also the chairman of the negotiations committee, has chaired the meetings.
Over 4 thousand members have contributed to the demands
The Efling survey on conditions and opinions is one of the key premises for the drafting of demands. Three times more members than ever before participated in the survey this time, or over 4500 in total. The survey was translated into 10 languages, and the response ratio was highest among foreign members.
In the meeting of the negotiations committee last night (Thursday), Sólveig Anna reported on the results of this comprehensive survey, which contains many important clues to what issues are most important to Efling members. The results of the survey will be presented more thoroughly in the coming days.
Learning from workers’ experience from around the world
Another important part of the union’s preparation for collective bargaining is the participation of a group of 30 active members in the course Power and Participation in Negotiations. This is an online course organized by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung and led by Jane McAlevey. McAlevey is one of the most respected lecturers and authors in the world today on the topic of labor organizing. Participants in the course come from around the globe.
Course participants have met on Saturdays in October in the Efling Community Centre and will meet one more time. Each session has been around 3 hours long and has included presentations and group work. The course is centered on lessons from successful collective bargaining by unions in the US and Germany, where large groups of workers have taken direct part and bargaining has been open to members. The Efling office has made translations available and interpreted lessons.
Unity and Power
In the recent meetings of the Delegate Council and in well-attended union rep courses, there has been much discussion of the union’s experience of collective bargaining in the last years.
“I sense determined will among members to make bargaining organized around member participation as well as open and transparent,” Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir union chairman commented. “Numbers, participation, and visibility – these are the principles that unite our members. This coming winter, we will undertake campaigning where membership power and justice for workers is at the centre,” she furthermore said.
Some photos from members’ meetings in the last weeks: