In January 2019, Alda held a conference on the feasibility and benefits of shortening working hours in Iceland. The conference was held at Harpa, Reykjavík’s largest conference centre, and was well attended by members of the public. The aim was to broaden and deepen the discussion on the benefits of working less amid the upcoming pay-and-benefits negotiations that started around that time. The conference was held and organised by Alda, and sponsored by a number of unions; these were BSRB, ASÍ, Efling and BHM.
Speakers at the conference were the following:
• Aidan Harper, researcher at the New Economics Foundation in London, United Kingdom
• Sonja Ýr Þorbergsdóttir, leader of BSRB
• Ragnar Þór Ingólfsson, leader of VR
• Ragnheiður Þorleifsdóttir, CEO of Hugsmiðjan
• Guðmundur D. Haraldsson, board member of Alda
At the end of the conference there was a panel composed of three of the speakers: Sonja, Ragnar and Guðmundur, as well as two members of Parliament: Halldóra Mogensen from the Pirate Party and Ólafur Þór Gunnarsson from the Left-Green Movement, and also a representative of Efling: Viðar Þorsteinsson. Katrín Oddsdóttir, human rights lawyer, was moderator during the whole conference, and Björn Þorsteinsson, board member of Alda, opened the conference.
A summary of the talks, along with background information on Alda’s project of shortening working hours in Iceland, is now available. The aim of the summary is to provide information on the developments in Iceland in terms of shortening working hours during the last few years, and to convey some information on how trials of shorter working hours have progressed.
A report detailing trials of shorter working hours in Iceland is in the works and will hopefully be released in the coming months.