This news item is over a year old
Vr Fanar Kringlan 2

News - 04.01.2023

Labour Court win for VR

The termination of VR´s shop steward at Efling union in April of last year was illegal according to the Icelandic Labour Court, which handed down its judgement yesterday, 3 January, 2023. VR welcomes the court‘s judgement which better clarifies the position of shop stewards.

Efling trade union dismissed all its staff at the union‘s office in April last year, including the shop steward of VR. VR argued that the dismissal was illegal and violated Article 11. Act no. 80/1938 on trade unions and labor disputes as a shop steward should have priority in retaining a job in the case of collective dismissal. VR also demanded that it be recognized that the shop steward was denied access to the union´s place of business, his work facilities and access to the members of VR at the Efling office, in violation of VR's collective agreement.

VR strongly objected to claims that it was necessary to dismiss all the staff of the Efling office on the grounds of restructuring and did not think it possible to use the provisions on group dismissals to justify the dismissal of a shop steward. The purpose of Act no. 63/2000 on collective redundancies is to seek ways through consultation to reduce redundancies that are necessary due to unavoidable circumstances. In this case, there were neither operational reasons nor new external circumstances that justified the dismissal of all staff. Efling, therefore, cannot hide behind collective dismissal as a legitimate reason to dismiss a shop steward.

The court confirmed that it was illegal to dismiss the shop steward. Despite the organizational changes the duties of the shop steward, in assisting members regarding wage issues, remained after the changes. The dismissal was therefore neither necessary nor unavoidable in relation to general organizational changes, and the shop steward should have had priority in retaining a job. In addition, the court confirmed a violation of the collective agreement in preventing a shop steward from performing his duties at a workplace as he had been dismissed from the workplace.

The court confirms that even though all employees were dismissed in a collective dismissal, that action alone does not justify the dismissal of a shop steward.