Icelandair cabin crew threaten strike over pay talks

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Icelandair’s cabin crew, represented by the Flugfreyjufelag Islands (FFI) union, are poised to strike if pay negotiations scheduled for later today fail to deliver an agreement.

FFI, which represents all of Icelandair’s Iceland-based crew, is seeking a IcKr21,000 ($277.7) boost to its members’ basic pay following the expiry of its previous collective agreement on 31 December.

Although negotiations began last November and a proposal for a three-year deal has been put forward, no agreement has been reached.

An FFI spokeswoman says: “We had a meeting with our union members on 16 April. They are really behind us in this and they gave us permission to prepare for a strike, but we haven’t decided which days and when.”

An Icelandair spokesman declines to comment on the situation, but the two sides are due to meet for further talks this afternoon. The FFI spokeswoman says that, if no solution forthcoming, the union is likely to take a decision on strike action during its next meeting on 23 April.

She says: “We are going to see what they have to offer. All of our demands have been pushed off the table. We have been talking with Icelandair for almost five months and we’re just going round in circles.”

FFI is reluctant to sign a three-year deal, which has already been accepted by some of the airline’s non-cabin crew unions, because of concerns over the stability of the Icelandic economy.

The spokeswoman says: “At the moment we won’t accept it for three years. We might accept it for 12 months. The situation in Iceland is not very stable. Inflation is running at 8.5% right now and it doesn’t look like it’s going down.”

Icelandair is also in pay negotiations with its pilots. The Icelandair spokesman says: “Things are moving in the right direction. There was a meeting yesterday where both parties agreed to aim for a short-term contract, but that deal has not been signed yet.”