Despite Unemployment, No Icelander Wants to Work in a Fish Factory - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Despite Unemployment, No Icelander Wants to Work in a Fish Factory

Published September 22, 2010

Despite a lack of available work in the area, only one person has responded to an ad for work in a fish factory, and the owner believes he may have to bring in foreign labor.
The town of Grundarfjörður, which has just under a thousand people, is not exactly drowning in unemployment – with about 20 people unemployed, the rate is well below the 9% national average, at about 2%. However, being unemployed is still difficult, no matter how few are experiencing it.
This is why it surprised Guðmundur Smári Guðmundsson, the director of the fish factory Guðmundur Runólfsson hf., that only one person has responded to a classified ad he posted offering jobs. The situation has been so bad, he told Vísir, that they have been forced to reduce fishing efforts and put fish in cold storage.
“Of course we’d like to have locals first and foremost,” he said in part. “But at this point we’re hard at work looking for foreigners.”
Guðmundur adds that he believes the system itself is partly at fault, as he thinks many consider the dole to be a form of minimum wage. In addition, he said he no longer receives a list of people on the unemployment roles, making it more difficult for him to find people who might want to work. “Being unemployed has become some big secret,” he says.

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