Hotel housekeepers in Iceland go on strike

Members of Efling accepted a call to strike on March 8 among hotel housekeepers with an overwhelming majority of votes cast. The union is preparing a serious of shorter industrial actions, which will then lead to a general strike from 1st of May.


Two of our member organization in Iceland, SGS and MATVIS have been in intensive negotiation with employer for more than three months, which still have not resulted in a new collective agreement. The unions demand is a substantial raise in minimum wages, shorter working week, tax reform, affordable housing and rent control. Efling and two other local unions of SGS, decided to break away from the central negotiation table and push for a new collective agreement through industrial actions and strikes. 

Nordic hotel and restaurant unions support their Icelandic member organization in their fight for fair wages and better society based on equality and fairness. 

Chair of Efling, Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, said that the result was a great symbol of support in the coming struggle. “The members have spoken. I am sincerely proud of our members, who have now sent a very clear and powerful message with their votes. It was amazing to see the atmosphere in the workplaces where we organized a vote.”

The housekeeping industrial action on the 8th of March applies to cleaning, housekeeping and laundry services for rooms and other sleeping accommodation and connected areas and services, for example in corridors, toilets and shared spaces, in all hotels and guesthouses in the area which Efling has jurisdiction over, which includes the areas of Reykjavík, Kópavogur, Seltjarnarnes, Mosfellsbær, Kjós, Grímsnes og Grafningshreppur, Hveragerði, Ölfus County, and additionally Hafnarfjörður and Garðabær.

Efling trade-union is the largest general workers unions in Iceland with 27.000 members, and covers all sectors in Reykjavík and its suburbs, except for employees working in commerce.  Efling trade-union is a member of SGS and has members in various sectors such as industry, food production, agriculture, public services, transport, hotels, restaurants and catering, construction and fisheries.


Nordisk Union
C/o 3F
Kampmannsgade 4
1790 København V

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+45 88 92 13 63
+45 88 92 13 54
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The Nordic Union for Hotel, Restaurant, Catering and Tourism sector, is an association of unions in Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, all of which unionise workers of the HRCT industry. The member unions have all made collective agreements with employers organizations and companies in the NU HRCT.

All in all NU HRCT covers seven unions with a total of about 115,000 members.