Collective agreement victory ends Icelandair dispute

January 19, 2015

Icelandair pilots have voted overwhelmingly for an agreement negotiated with the company by their union, the Icelandic Airline Pilots Association (FIA), which brings to an end a bitter dispute.

The FIA reported that 81 percent of the 278 pilots who took part in the ballot voted, with over 81 percent voting in favour of the new agreement.  Voting closed on 19 December. The new CBA is valid for three years.

In May 2014, following a 98 percent vote in favour of industrial action, Icelandair pilots held a series of strikes and introduced an overtime ban to demand better conditions. The agreement between the airline and its pilots had expired the previous November but negotiations over pay and conditions were still continuing. The ITF-affiliated FIA argued that the airline had been very successful for four years, resulting in substantial executive bonuses and an excellent return on investment for shareholders, and called on management to share the financial benefits with its pilots.

Thorsteinn Kristmannsson, leader of the FIA, said: “It is my pleasure to thank the ITF for your support. Our team stood together last spring as rocks. The wind in our sails you gave us is still there, and we will sail into the future.”

ITF civil aviation section secretary Gabriel Mocho added that this was a triumph for the FIA. Despite being forced to take industrial action last year, the union had continued vigorously to try to reach an agreed settlement with the airline over its legitimate demands.

In May, ITF general secretary Steve Cotton wrote to Iceland’s prime minister after the government passed a law to make compulsory binding arbitration as a replacement for strike action. He said this legislation was a serious violation of ILO agreements on freedom of association which the government had ratified. The ITF was also prepared to formally submit a complaint to the ILO if required by the FIA.

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