19. apr 2022


The collective labour agreements of the Icelandic Coast Guard's pilots' have been open since 31 December 2019, and negotiations have been slow and arduous. Throughout this period, we have made every effort to maintain a high level of service, despite understaffing and perceived unwillingness to negotiate on the part of the State.

As the Coast Guard pilots have police powers, they do not have the right to strike. Therefore, their labour agreements have historically been linked to CLAs of comparable professions, for the longest time through a statutory link, or until 2006.

The Ministry of Finance is now vigorously attacking this arrangement, with a clear demand for a new, original wage agreement without links to comparable professions. This will not only affect pilot benefits but will also greatly increase staff turnover among the Coast Guard's pilots.

Maintaining standards for All-Weather Search and Rescue is costly and the Coast Guard spends hundreds of millions of ISK on training for each pilot. Increased staff turnover is therefore quick to more than offset the disconnection of wages from comparable professions.

The Ministry of Finance also vigorously undermines aviation safety by demanding the abolition of the pilot's seniority list, which is one of the cornerstones of safety culture in aviation around the world. This arrangement has proved successful, as such lists ensure transparency, professionalism, and that pilots can report incidents without fear of punishment. The Ministry has presented no objective arguments to support its position, and in fact the pilots' negotiation committee has perceived a lack of professional knowledge and understanding of the unique position of the aviation industry in the negotiations.

The Ministry of Finance is attacking a profession that does not have the right to strike, so we are in an almost hopeless situation.

We are facing collective labour orders rather than a collective labour agreement.

Even more serious is the endangerment to the Coast Guard's flight safety with grave consequences for people who need their help. The Treasury can expect hundreds of millions in additional costs due to the greatly increased turnover of pilots and the associated loss of knowledge and experience.

We, the pilots of the Icelandic Coast Guard, hereby express great concern about the future operation of rescue aircraft for all Icelanders, both at sea and on land.

We demand fair and objective negotiations.


Pilots of the Icelandic Coast Guard