The negotiating parties

The structure of the Icelandic social partners, trade unions and employers’ federations is not specifically regulated by law. There are four main organisations representing the workers and five representing the employers. This chapter does not include an exhaustive list of unions and employers‘ organizations and although most trade unions and employers’ associations are members of the confederations and association described below, there are a few that have chosen to stand alone.

The unions

The Icelandic Confederation of Labour (ASI)

The Icelandic Confederation of Labour (ASI) is the most representative confederation in the private sector with a membership count of around 93.000, which amounts to two thirds of the national labour force. It is built up of trade unions of general workers, office and retail workers, seamen, construction and industrial workers, electrical workers and various other professions. These trade unions are affiliated to 5 national federations which in turn are affiliated to ASI. In addition, there are 7 national unions which are directly affiliated to ASI. Trade unions belonging to ASI represent almost exclusively workers in the private sector, but some of their members are also employed by municipal authorities and the state. Some unions have members who work in the public sector but these unions negotiate for those members under the TUI Act.

 

The Confederation of State and municipal employees (BSRB)

The Confederation of State and municipal employees (BSRB) is the most representative confederation in the public sector and their members are 22.000 of which 2/3 are women. The union members work in the fields of customs, police, fire resistance, health care, pre-schools etc. The member trade unions are 26 and are all directly affiliated to BSRB. The trade unions negotiate for members working in the public sector under the CAPS Act and those working in the private sector under the TUI Act.

 

The Association of Academics (BHM)

The Association of Academics (BHM) is an umbrella organisation for trade unions of academics that consists of 11.000 members. Each member-union represents workers with particular qualifications or professions such as psychologists, lawyers, architects and musicians. The member-unionspreserve the right to negotiate collective agreements for their members but BHM assists the member-unions in many fields and representsacademics and member-unions in common causes. The majority of the members to the affiliated unions work in the public sector but a part of them work in the private sector hence the unions negotiate both under the CAPS Act and the TUI Act.

 

The Icelandic Teachers’ Union (KI)

The Icelandic Teachers’ Union (KI) is a joint organisation for all teachers, head teachers, deputy head teachers, and student counselors, in preschools, primary schools, secondary schools, upper secondary schools (with the exception of head teachers in upper secondary schools) and music schools. With 10.000 members, the Icelandic Teachers' Union is among the largest professional organizations in Iceland. The majority of its’ members work in the public sector, but a part of them work in the private sector hence the union negotiates both under the CAPS Act and the TUI Act.

The employers

SA-Business Iceland (Samtök atvinnulífsins) is a service organization for Icelandic businesses and negotiates collective agreements with unions on wages and working conditions on behalf of its members. A business becomes a member of SA by joining one of SA's six associations. SA and its member associations include about 2,000 businesses and account for about 70% of all salaried employees on the Icelandic labour market.

The Icelandic Federation of Trade (FA-Félag atvinnurekenda) is a trade association that represents companies involved in most types of business and trade, importing, exporting, wholesaling and retail distribution and negotiates collective agreements with trade unions on behalf of their members.

The state. It is stated in article 3 in the CAPS Act from 1986 that the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs holds the collective bargaining negotiation mandate on behalf of the Icelandic government. The Minister appoints a special committee to negotiate on collective agreements with the trade unions on his behalf. The wage negotiation process is split in two. First, there is a central contract between the union and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, where so-called frameworks are defined. In the second stage the members of specific unions in each workplace agree upon, with the head of each institute, how the contract will be applied to that particular workplace, based on the broad definition given in the central agreement. Thus, an institutional agreement (stofnanasamningur), is made within each institute with each union operating in that institute. This institutional agreement is considered a part of the collective bargaining agreement.

The municipalities. The board of the Association of Local Authorities in Iceland (Stjórn Sambands íslenskra sveitarfélaga) has the mandate to negotiate for collective agreements on behalf of municipalities in Iceland, except for the city of Reykjavik. The municipalities do not have the afore mentioned system that applies to the state, the institutional agreements. The wage negotiating process therefore remains centralized and applies to all Icelandic municipalities except for one.

The city of Reykjavik. As a single employer, the city of Reykjavik has the mandate to negotiate collective agreements with the trade unions the employees are members to according to the CAPS Act. The Major of Reykjavik city appoints a special committee to negotiate on collective agreements with all the trade unions on his behalf with one exception. The board of the Association of Local Authorities in Iceland has the mandate to negotiate on behalf of the city of Reykjavik with the Icelandic Teachers’ Union (KI).