186 new cases in total were registered by the Department of contract compliance of Efling during the fourth quarter of last year, as reported in the recently published quarterly statement of the division. 56 of the wage claims add up to over 46 million kronas. Five or more open wage claims of up to a total of 17 million kronas were made against two companies. The success of collecting the claims has been inconsistent and, therefore, the union is calling on the government to fulfill its promise of implementing fines – “penalty payments” – in order to improve the success of the collection effort. Of the total number of wage claims, 15 estate claims amounted to 17,3 million kronas.
Of the almost 25.000 paying members of Efling, about 54% were of foreign origin this past November. However, the ratio of members of foreign origin seeking the services of the wage affairs division during the quarter was 64%. Many cases pertain to payments for the term of notice, which is understandable, as of the 3.711 members of Efling who were unemployed, 75% were of foreign origin and 25% of Icelandic origin this past October.
Unemployment among Efling members during this time period was a bit higher than elsewhere in the labor market. Unemployment among Icelanders reached 10,6% while unemployment among foreign citizens went up to 24% in November, according to the figures of the directorate of labor. Unemployment is thus more detrimental to foreign individuals in the labor market than Icelanders and hits foreign workers and low wage earners even harder than other groups of foreign employees in the labor market.
Regarding services provided for members of foreign origin, it is convenient that Efling has many employees of various nationalities who understand many languages. Among the languages spoken fluently by members of the staff, we could name English, Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Russian, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.