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Mediators attempt to resume talks as strike action bites

Two weeks into the workers’ strike—with more garbage piling up, food supplies further dwindling, more schools and daycare centers closing, and virtually all fuel stations empty—a glimmer of hope was aired on Tuesday as news broke that negotiations may resume on Thursday.

Last week, fuel station chain Magn reported that its filling stations were out of fuel and according to rival Effo, so are most of theirs—except for a few pumps in Suðuroy.

Due to the fuel shortage, drivers from around the islands have reportedly taken the trip to the Faroes’ southernmost island to stock up on fuel for their vehicles, which last weekend resulted in the police and public bus and ferry operator Strandfaraskip Landsins (SSL) issuing a warning against bringing containers of gasoline or diesel on any SSL ferry. “This is strictly prohibited and very dangerous,” SSL noted in a statement.

The ongoing strike is also having an impact on the tourism industry, with hotels reportedly beginning to receive cancellations. The fuel shortage has affected public bus routes, taxi services—now having restricted their business hours to between 6am and 6pm—along with car rental services, who urged the unions on strike to grant exemptions to allow for fuel deliveries to rental cars.

“Holding foreign tourists in the Faroes hostage to a domestic conflict between employers and workers is sending a bad message to visitors and can cause irreparable damage,” car rental companies said in a joint statement, adding that international tourism has not even recovered from the recent health crisis.

“If this strike is to affect this industry more than it already has, companies may not survive,” they noted.

However, according to news reports, car rentals will not be given exempt status to purchase fuel during the strike.

Unions Føroya Arbeiðarafelag, Havnar Arbeiðarafelag, Klaksvíkar Arbeiðskvinnufelag, and Klaksvíkar Arbeiðsmannafelag went on strike on May 14th. A fifth union, Havnar Arbeiðskvinnufelag, announced on Sunday, after failing to reach an agreement with employers on higher salaries, that it will join the strike as of May 29th.

Meanwhile broadcaster KVF reported that mediators are slated to meet on Thursday May 30th in an attempt to resume negotiations between employers and workers.


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