Fishing redundancies causes union to sue

An Icelandic fishing union is planning to take one of the nation’s largest trawler companies to court over its decision to cut staff at a fish processing plant, according to a report from

HB Grandi announced plans to cut around 60 jobs from a fish processing plant in Akranes, near Reykjavik, last month.

According to Eggert Benedikt Gudmundsson, HB Grandi’s chief executive, the cuts were necessary because of the decreasing size of the company’s annual cod quota. He added that the company would be willing to help those employees made redundant find employment elsewhere.

Of the 64 workers who received redundancy letters, 20 will be rehired after a period of leave says the company. However none of the workers is clear about their status at this time.

According to Halldor Grönvold, the assistant managing director for the Icelandic Confederation of Labour (ASÍ), HB Grandi broke both Icelandic laws and European regulations concerning the laying off of large numbers of workers. As a result, a local union is preparing a law suit against the company. According to Vilhjalmur Birgisson, chairman of the union, it is likely that ASI will represent the case.

Mr Grönvold said that there are rules and regulations specifying how companies should make staff redundant and assisting those who must resign.

“We are not demanding that a company runs a business that isn’t profitable. But people have to be given the chance to present their ideas and make suggestions,” Birgisson said.