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Icelandair pulls off eleventh-hour union deal

written by Sandy Milne | July 21, 2020

Icelandair has backpedalled on a controversial staffing decision (Icelandair).

After weeks of heated negotiations, Icelandair says that the airline has finally struck a deal with the Icelandic Cabin Crew Association (FFI) – reversing a decision posted two days prior that would have seen all cabin crew fired.

The breakthrough came two days after it had decided to appoint pilots to oversee flight attendants’ duties, announcing it would “permanently terminate the employment of its current cabin crew members and permanently discontinue the employment relationship between the parties”.

According to reports in local and international media, the deal was struck in the early hours of Sunday morning, just a day before the layoffs were due to take effect.

In a subsequent public statement, the company said that “the parties have managed to resume discussions and have signed a new collective-bargaining agreement which is valid until 30 September 2025.”

As a result, Icelandair pilots will not be assuming cabin crew responsibilities, a suggestion that had piqued the interest of the aviation sector as well as the broader international community.

According to the country’s paper of record, the Morgunblaðið, the deal tabled nearly mirrors one which was earlier rejected by union members. While it does contain minor differences, such as an extra day off for older cabin crew personnel, the substantial content of the agreement remains the same.

The company says that the current agreement allows it to cut operating costs without impacting employee compensation. Union members can vote on the new deal until 27 July.

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