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Talks resume amid new hopes of ending strike

Negotiations between the workers’ unions currently on strike in the Faroe Islands and the Employers’ Association have reportedly resumed this afternoon.

“We’ve established that there is a will to reach an agreement,” mediator Terji Sigurðsson told broadcaster KVF on Thursday, following a meeting with representatives from the two sides, more than three weeks after workers’ unions went on strike over what they argue are too low wages.

Føroya Arbeiðarafelag, Havnar Arbeiðarafelag, Klaksvíkar Arbeiðskvinnufelag, and Klaksvíkar Arbeiðsmannafelag went on strike on May 14th, with a fifth union, Havnar Arbeiðskvinnufelag, joining their action as of May 29th.

Mr. Sigurðsson acknowledged that negotiations may prove difficult and could well last over the weekend; he said the talks will continue until concluding in “either agreement or breakdown”.

A week ago, an attempt at resuming negotiations was made; however, after meeting with both partiers, Mr. Sigurðsson called off the talks over what he termed a “too wide gap” between the positions of the workers and their counterparts.

Assessments vary as to what has changed over the past week to make way for the resumption of negotiations. Clearly, people are growing weary or impatient after weeks of no garbage collection, closed day care, low fuel and food supplies and impaired services across the board. Meanwhile, a few days ago, further increasing the pressure toward finding a resolution to the conflict, the mighty Starvsfelagið union, representing public servants and other government employees, openly considered to go on a 24-hour sympathy strike in a move that would have had a direct impact on government-owned companies such as Posta, Vagar Airport and Faroese Telecom. Arguably, the mere prospect of their entry into the dispute may have had an influence.


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