View Full Version : No progress between unions and owners

Davie Tait
24th March 2016, 16:51

Life is becoming tougher for crewmen on Icelandic fishing vessels, according to Árni Bjarnason of Icelandic Ship’s Officers’ Union FFSÍ.

‘There’s a harder working environment now, courtesy of the companies who run these vessels,’ he said. ‘Fresher trawlers that used to catch 3000 to 4000 tonnes a year with a crew of fifteen are now landing 6000 to 8000 tonnes in a year, and the crews are smaller so I ask myself when so these men get to sleep?’

Relations with vessel operators have been less than smooth in the last few years, with agreements with officers’ engineers’ and crews’ unions all long out of date and little progress has been made towards reaching new settlements on terms and conditions.

‘The last meeting we had with the owners was with two representatives who seemed to have nothing to offer beyond saying ‘no’ to any suggestions from our side,’ he said, adding that a substantial proportion of FFSÍ’s members are in favour of preparing for strike action – and with no apparent progress towards new agreements, patience is wearing thin.

In addition, the political landscape in Iceland is deeply uncertain, with the possibility of a dominant presence in a future administration after next year’s elections of the untried and new Pirate Party.

‘Do they even have a fisheries policy? I’m not sure that they do,’ he said, adding that the Social Democrats under the previous administration were largely responsible for blocking progress towards a resolution on fisheries issues several years ago with their determination to push through their policy to recall quotas and auction them to the highest bidder.

‘If that were to happen, the lawyers would have a field day, and would fight tooth and nail to claim that holding quotas for as many years as companies have constitutes ownership, and this could be tied up in the courts for years.’

Source: Fiskerforum