REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Workers from hotels in the Reykjavik capital area and nearby municipalities marched down Laugavegur Street here March 8, International Women’s Day. The action was part of a one-day strike, the first of others to come, Anna Marta Marjankowska, a board member of the Efling Union, told the Militant.
The fight involves some 700 union members who work as cleaners, housekeepers and in laundry services in hotels and guest houses.
They marched behind a banner saying, “We’re here! We’re striking! Get used to it!”
Negotiations for a new contract have been deadlocked for months because the bosses have refused to meet workers’ demands for an increase in the base wage, affordable housing and a shorter workweek.
“With the economic boom in Iceland, revenue in the tourism industry has matched that of fish exports. Iceland is currently the fifth largest fish exporter in the world, and I believe tourism brings in just as much money,” striker Stepnir Benediktsson told the Militant at the rally. “The workers deserve more.”
Marjankowska got a good response from the crowd when she spoke at the rally about the importance of being united, visible and heard.
“Today is about solidarity, about showing we can unite in fighting for better working conditions,” she said. “Together we are strong, we can change the culture where we work and protect each other.”