Iceland's First Pay Strike Begins Today - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland’s First Pay Strike Begins Today

Published October 1, 2009

Iceland’s Home Coalition (Hagsmunasamtök heimilanna) has announced a paystrike in Iceland on all mortgage loan payments on October 1st to October 15th.
In a statement from the organization, they argue that “Thousands of Icelanders are already on an unorganized Paystrike (up to 20% according to news). They either can’t pay their mutated loan payments or have decided not to because there is no point in continuing doing so. The reason is that they consider the doubled and tripled loan principals to be based on illegal, and/or unjustifiable, and unfair business practices. The Paystrike is on one hand to support the people that have been forced to stop paying, or have bravely already taken the step at considerable risk to their financial reputation. On the other hand, the intention is to put pressure on the Government and the financial sector for reasonable and just solutions for Icelandic households.”
The organization also says that requests they have made with government officials to negotiate were ignored, so their plans for the strike went ahead as scheduled.
As far as public support for the measure goes, 87% say they are ready to take measures to pressure the government to correct the loans and, according to a Capacent poll commissioned by the group, “Three out of four or about 75% of Icelanders support a general correction of price and currency indexed home mortgage loans and just over 80% want to completely abolish price indexing according to Capacent‘s Gallup poll for HH. The poll also shows a worsening financial situation of the general public. About 55% of respondants cannot or manage with difficulty to pay their bills every month. This means that a sizeable proportion of the general public are either emptying their life savings or collecting more debts.”
The website of Hagsmunasamtök heimilanna can be found here (Icelandic).

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