The Confederation of Icelandic Labor Unions (ASÍ) voiced strong criticism to the idea of bringing in Chinese labor for Landsvirkjun projects.
Chinese officials are currently in Iceland, meeting with members of the government. During this visit, the Icelandic power company Landsvirkjun signed a statement of willingness with China International Water & Electric Corporation and the Export-Import Bank of China. While no party is under any obligation in the agreement, it does put forth the idea of importing Chinese labor for the construction of a new power plant.
Gylfi Arnbjörnsson, president of ASÍ, told reporters that it was out of the question that Landsvirkjun should import labor at this time.
“There is 9% unemployment in this country,” Gylfi told Vísir, “and in the field of construction, unemployment is somewhere around 20%. It is therefore out of the question that Landsvirkjun should import labor from outside the European Economic Area for work on the Búðarhálsvirkjun project.”
The government is already in hot water with the unions over numerous issues, including a recent statement from the Ministry of Social Affairs that public servants could have a salary cap lasting until 2013.