Rio Tinto smelter unions sign deal

30.10.2020 - 10:09
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Guðmundur Bergkvist Jónsson - RÚV
The five unions representing workers at the Rio Tinto aluminium smelter at Straumsvík near Hafnarfjörður last night signed a new pay and conditions deal with the company. The contract is set to last one year and will now be put to the 400 member workers to vote on.

Kolbeinn Gunnarsson, chairman of Hlíf union, told RÚV he is fairly pleased with the contents of the contract. The unions had pushed for a longer contract period, but one year was as far as the other party was willing to go, he said.

Kolbeinn believes the deal stands up well in comparison to the ‘quality of life contract’ but that it is now in the hands of members to take a view. They will receive details of how and when to vote online in the coming days. The vote must be complete by 13th November. 

“We need to re-assess the ongoing situation in the New Year. Hopefully the climate will have started improving by then. Then we will need to begin the drafting of the new contract,” Kolbeinn says. 

There are 400 Rio Tinto workers in the five unions (Félag rafeindavirkja, Félag íslenskra rafvirkja, FIT, VM, and Hlíf) that have been working without a contract since the start of July. Industrial action was planned for earlier this month, but it was postponed on several occasions due to a more positive tone at the negotiating table. 

A deal had been previously made for a 24,000-króna monthly wage rise in March, on the condition that Rio Tinto secures a new electricity contract with Landsvirkjun before the end of June. When that did not happen, the deal was scrapped and the negotiation forwarded on to the State Mediator. 

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