Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir chairman of Efling and Agnieszka Ewa Ziólkowska vice chairman of Efling wrote an open letter to Ásmundur Einar Daðason, the Minister of Social and Children‘s Affairs that was published in Fréttablaðið today. In the letter they demand he fulfills the promise to take action in eradicating the theft of wages from workers and low income wage earners in Iceland.
Dear Ásmundur Einar.
We, the undersigned, have no choice but to try and reach you with an open letter. The reason for this open letter is our concern that you will not fulfull the promised made at the signing of the Quality of Live Agreement in the spring of 2019. A promise was made to take action in eradicating the theft of wages from workers and low income wage earners in Iceland. During difficult negotiations that winter, one of our main negotiating points was that, finally, some action would be taken on this front.
This problem is enormous in scale. More than one billion kronur was stolen from members of Efling during the years 2015 until 2019. The union sends out hundreds of claims every year to try and collect this theft, however this collection can take a long time. Meanwhile the victims of this theft need to bear the cost of this crime; they can not pay their bills or rent. Workers and their children are left in need because of this. The average claim sent by Efling on behalf of a worker is around 500.000 ISK. This amount of money makes a huge difference in the lives of low wage earners. We speak from experience here as Efling‘s own Vice Chairman has suffered from wage theft in her previous job.
It costs the government and the treasury literally nothing to eradicate wage theft from the Icelandic labor market. In fact, eradicating wage theft will actually increase revenue.
Now more than a year and a half has gone by since the signing of the Quality of Life Agreement. This issue has been in your hands all of this time, yet you have not been able to fulfill this promise, despite previously promising that a solution would be forthcoming at a meeting with the Icelandic Federation of Labor (ASÍ) bargaining committee. How is this possible?
Perhaps the explanation is that the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA) protects wage theft. Are you going to let the protector of these theives control the progress? You have an opportunity to show that you understand the situation of workers and fulfill your duty as a minister for the working people and their children in Iceland. Are you going to let this opportunity fall from your hands?
Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, Chairman of Efling
Agnieszka Ewa Ziólkowska, Vicechairman of Efling
Published in Fréttablaðið 13.10.2020