Resolution of the Efling Trade Union Board in regards to Kveikur

The board of Efling–trade union wishes to express its concern over the conditions that currently prevail in the Icelandic labour market. We demand that the authorities shape up and that public institutions perform their duties of inspections and oversight of contractors. The current situation is intolerable and it is unacceptable that supervisory authorities are being starved of funds or that politicians act as if the problems don’t exist, or that they will solve themselves. Efling–trade union will not stand idly by and watch incorrigible employers get away with cheating employees of their wages by all conceivable means, for instance by charging their staff criminal levels of rent for cooping up in cubbyholes.

What makes this situation possible is, among other things, the operation of recruitment agencies, which is one of the most serious sources of problems and abuse in the Icelandic labour market. Their work undermines everything workers in Iceland have fought for and built by their grit and diligence.

We have seen examples of temp agency employees being treated as right less objects, not as humans who have legal entitlement to the same rights as other wage earners in the Icelandic labour market. Employees of temp agencies aren’t informed of their rights, which are inscribed in the collective agreements and the law, while contractors and temp agencies seem to do everything in their power to prevent the staff from forming connections with each other or other Icelandic workers. That way the employees are systematically prevented from building the solidarity and relations necessary to right their condition.

It is also intolerable that workers are dependent on their employer or agency for housing. This situation breeds abuse, as we in Efling have seen in numerous cases.

Efling–trade union demands that foreigners coming here to work enjoy their full legal and contractual rights.

We demand that the authorities stop turning a blind eye to the staggering problems of the conditions and livelihood of foreign workers.

We demand that the treatment of labour as a „discount good“ stops, and that people get a decent wage for their work!

Here we draw a line and say stop!

Board of Efling union