Industrial actions are likely to disrupt gasoline supplies and hospitality services in Iceland’s capital region, impacting the tourism industry. Travelers may need to think of backup plans for their accommodations and transportation routes.
The Efling union, one of the largest labor unions in the country representing workers in and around the city of Reykjavik, has been planning to strike after its members voted on the subject matter earlier in February.
Disrupted hotel services in the capital city will affect Iceland’s key tourism industry, which makes up 39 percent of its total export revenue. Tourism is one of Iceland’s most dependable money-making sectors and made up 15.7 percent of its total workforce in 2017.
“Our demand is for a fair wage agreement that takes into account the circumstances and composition of our members,” said Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, the chair of Efling, in a union statement. “I encourage negotiating parties to strike an agreement with us.”
Almost 700 Efling union members in hotel services went on strike last week at seven Íslandshotel locations. Three more strike notices were put up for votes by the negotiating committee of the Efling union on Sunday, February 12. An additional 1,700 Efling members are anticipated to strike before the end of the month if the vote is approved, which includes hotel employees at Centerhotels and Keahótels.
Seventy oil truckers went on an indefinite strike on Wednesday. More will follow should the Efling union fail to reach an agreement with the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA). Gas stations can run into supply shortages as soon as Thursday evening, possibly delaying travel plans and tourism recovery.
“This is a matter of concern because Iceland is dependent on oil, and it is quite clear that this will hit us pretty hard if it happens,” Þórður Guðjónsson, CEO of Shell’s official reseller in Iceland told the local media.
Some essential services, such as the police, ambulances, hospitals and search-and-rescue teams, are observed to be exempted from union actions.
“In the coming days, society will feel the effects of strikes in a tangible way,” Þórbergsson said to local media. “I predict that either side of the weekend, most of our daily lives will be paralysed.”