A Finnish woman hired through Nordjobb to work on a farm in south Iceland ended up in much different conditions than she was led to expect. The project director of the company contends the matter was based on poor communication.
Many foreigners come to Iceland every year through Nordjobb, to be able to work and live in the country temporarily, experiencing Icelandic daily life while earning their keep and still finding time to explore the country. Vísir reports that a Finnish woman named Maija was one such person. She came to Iceland through Nordjobb, and was placed at a farm in south Iceland which also doubles as a guesthouse.
Her work contract stipulated that she would clean rooms eight hours per day, and would get two days off every week. Maija had looked forward to being able to explore the natural beauty of Iceland, but when work began, the farmer who employed her changed conditions for her. She was actually made to work 12 hours per day, without overtime. Furthermore, the farmer told her he would decide himself when her days off were.
Maija has since left the farm and come to Reykjavík, having told the farmer that he has violated the work contract and she is therefore not obliged to stay there anymore. She also spoke well of Nordjobb, saying they are now working to quickly find her a new job in Iceland, so she can enjoy her summer here at last.
Stefán Vilbergsson, the project manager of Nordjobb in Iceland, told Vísir that the case is not as cut and dry as it seems. Stefán contends that the farmer in question did not make it very clear what the work conditions on his farm and guesthouse would be. Furthermore, these conditions that Maija dealt with were supposedly temporary – not all of those hired to work there had yet arrived, and so shifts were often longer than normal with little free time available until things stablised. “With better communication this wouldn’t have been a problem at all,” Stefán said, adding that he fully understands why Maija would have been upset.