From Iceland — Sour Grapes & Stuff: Issue 6, 2015

Sour Grapes & Stuff: Issue 6, 2015

Published May 22, 2015

Sour Grapes & Stuff: Issue 6, 2015

Say your piece, voice your opinion, send your letters to:

Most Awesome Letter of the Issue!

Firstly, thanks for sending me your very informative and entertaining online newsletter.

Secondly, I just did the math and calculated that your minimum wage now (300,000 ISK/month)  is, at about 2,271 USD, the equivalent of about $13 USD, or almost twice that of the US.  We -US  national labor unions and others –  are currently fighting for a national raise in the US minimum wage to $15/hour.  The US federal minimum wage is now, since January 2014, $7.25/hour (about 957 ISK).  I realize that islands and island-nations are always more expensive than mainlands, but I live in New York City and it is, believe me, expensive  to live here, although, granted, I have visited Iceland and its prices took my breath away.  $20 for a simple sandwich at lunchtime? Here you can pay less than half for the equivalent. in a downscale coffee shop.  Frightening.

My point? Many US workers would love a raise to Iceland’s minimum wage, although it, too, is not really liveable.  Conclusion: We all need raises.

(Ms.) Marti Copleman

Brooklyn, NY

Hi Marti,

Thank you for your letter, and we totally agree with your conclusion. With prices the way they are in Iceland, it is difficult to imagine people living below the proposed 300,000 ISK minimum wage, yet that is the reality for many people. And NYC? Being poor there is a tough gig.

Yours in solidarity,

The Grapevine

Góðan daginn,

To whom my concern.

This is Estanis, Spanish guy living in Höfn and a hotel manager in Fosshotel Vatnajökull. I would like ot explain you the situation I heard from a 22 years old Spanish girl. She is a bit scare and she does not want to say her name. I would like to get some help or support about this case. I don‘t have any prove about what I am saying but I trust in what the Spanish girl says: She was hire to work in a farm: Egilsstadakot by Cathy Krentel in Selfoss. She never got confirmation about her salary before to arrive in Iceland, but the conditions was to get food and accomodation and salary. Once she arrived to the house the owner told her she will have 50.000 kr a month for her work plus food and accomodation. She was suppose to work 12 hours every single day. Can anyone check on this case and send her a work inspection? Right now there is a babysitter working in the farm I guess similar conditions and probably with no contract. This should not happen today in Iceland or anywhere. Hope someone can check this case and help that this will not happen again. If you need any more information I am here to help. Takk

Kveðja / Best regards

Estanis Plantada Siurans

Hótelstjóri Vatnajökull | Hotel Manager Vatnajökull

Hi Estanis,

Holy fucking shit, that’s a raw deal, and it’s a likely bet that it’s not legal. We recommend getting in touch with a trade union, such as Báran. Even if there was no talk of salary, if she is hired for a position, her boss cannot give her wages below the union-prescribed salary. If the boss admits fault, she should get paid the wages she is owed, and if not, the unions will have lawyers that can help take the case further. Also see if you can get the babysitter to do the same, that shit is not OK.

Your comrades in arms,

The Grapevine


Been following you guys since I got a hold of Reykjavik Grapevine in 2013 when I visited and so far, you’re the only ones who’ve kept me informed AND entertained.

I wanna write for you guys but I don’t know if my tropical surroundings is up your alley. I am a writer and editor of a website in MEtro Manila — we do pretty much the same thing. Anyway.

I’m going back to Reykjavik in November to catch Bjork. Please if I can visit your office, meet the staff, that would be great.

Cheers ya mate!

Lou E. Albano

Hey Lou

By all means drop us a line when you’re here, we’d be happy to have you over.


The Grapevine

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