I will not be cheated – education for young people in the labor market

Efling-union set off the campaign “I will not be cheated – let’s say NO to wage theft” by visiting Tækniskólinn yesterday, on Tuesday. The campaign is meant to inform young people of their rights in the labor market and counteract wage theft.Students in Tækniskólinn gave the representatives of Efling a warm welcome. Many students have a job in addition to being in school and used the opportunity to ask about certain things having to do with their work. The most common questions of the students had to do with vacation rights, minimum wages and overtime and many of them showed their paychecks to the Efling representatives to make sure that everything was in order. Most complained about a lack of information regarding the rights of young people in the labor market and called for more information regarding these matters as early as primary school.A recent study by ASÍ indicates that violations have become more numerous in the Icelandic labor market. Unions are contacted for more numerous and more serious matters than before, having to do with wage theft and violations of collective agreements and there is much to indicate that some employers systematically try to evade respecting the contractual rights and minimum wages of employees. The violations mostly seem to be perpetrated against groups of people who are less likely to know their rights or whose position is too precarious for them to assert their rights.Wage claims filed because of wage theft and collective agreement violations amount to hundreds of millions of kronas each year among the member unions of ASÍ. The violations have to do with younger wage earners with low wages who have irregular employment arrangements or do part time work.Young people in the labor market often find themselves in a more precarious position than their elders. These people have limited experience, are often employed for a short time period, are ill informed of their rights and may not even know that they can seek the assistance of their union.Four of the member unions of ASÍ issued 768 wage claims during the last year for a total of 450 million kronas. Of those, wage theft against people aged 25 and younger amounted to at least 53.000.000 kr.It is to be remembered that wage claims are only made for a portion of the cases which come to the unions, because often the necessary data to file such cases is unavailable. Also, it is probable that by far the largest portion of violations against young people never finds its way to the unions. Therefore, it is safe to say that this is only the tip of the iceberg.The representatives of Efling have contacted all the secondary schools in the greater Reykjavik area and offer a visit in order to educate the students regarding their rights. More schools will be visited in the following days and the schools who have yet to book a visit are encouraged to contact the union via efling@efling.isInformation regarding the rights of young people and what to look out for is available on the website of Efling. We are also collecting personal accounts to see what kinds of violations are perpetrated against young people at work. They will be published on the Efling web and on the union’s Facebook-site.