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HomeSocial IssuesStrike continues as workers stress “non-negotiable” but “very reasonable” demands

Strike continues as workers stress “non-negotiable” but “very reasonable” demands

Following a failed attempt by mediators to resume negotiations between unions and their employer counterparts on Thursday, workers in the Faroes head into a fourth week of strike action even as pressure is mounting on the contending parties to resolve the dispute, which is increasingly seeing basic supplies along with vital services and functions negatively affected throughout the islands.

With trash collection down, images of growing heaps of litter appeared on social media over the weekend, even with some of the trash dumps of former times reportedly used, rules and regulations be damned.

Citing the accumulation of garbage and the absence of cleaning services, several more daycare centers have been closed, even as the effects of supply chain disruptions accumulate.

Grocery chain Bónus and bakery Mylnan, both owned by SMS, have reduced their opening hours so as to close already at 7pm.

As of Friday May 31st, fuel retailers Magn and Effo have announced that they are out of diesel, with some gasoline left at a couple filling stations on Suðuroy.

Mediator Terji Sigurðsson told KVF on Thursday that the gap between the positions of the workers and the employers was too wide to make sense for resuming negotiations at this point. 

According to news reports, concessions offered by the Faroese Employers’ Association were deemed too unsubstantial to consider by the workers’ unions.

Union representatives said their demands are “non-negotiable” but “very reasonable”.

“With inflation at 12 percent during the past two years, on top of two other negotiations [in 2020 and 2022 respectively], where first COVID and the the war in Ukraine was used as an excuse to hold back wage increases, the average Faroese workers’ wage is no longer sufficient to cover the cost of living,” the unions said earlier in a joint statement. Since then, the unions have stressed that their demand for a “wage to make a living” is “non-negotiable”.

“The last couple of weeks have shown how big a role our members play in society,” the unions stated. “Every day we are flooded with requests for exceptions from the largest companies in the Faroes. They ought to instead tell the Employers Association to offer their employees a wage from which they can make a living”.


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