From Iceland — Cinema Employees Fired Under Suspicious Circumstances

Cinema Employees Fired Under Suspicious Circumstances

Published May 3, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Two employees of the Sambíó movie cinema were suddenly and without warning fired, shortly after they openly questioned what they saw as gender discrimination in their workplace. Cinema management said the two firings were due to “organisational changes”.

DV reports that two (now former) employees of the Sambíó cinema in Álfabakki were given their walking papers without warning last week, after working at the cinema for a year. The timing of the firing of the two, Sesselja Þrastardóttir and Brynja Sif, raises questions.

Sesselja and Brynja were fired shortly after they openly criticised management’s policy that only female employees should be stationed at the cinema snack bar, as management contends that this practice increases sales. The two criticised this practice in the Facebook group “Kynlegar athugasemdir”. Shortly thereafter, they were fired.

Alfreð Ásberg Árnason, the managing director of Sambíó, was contacted by reporters to comment on the matter. Alfreð said only, “I do not discuss organisational changes in the company with members of the media,” and refused to discuss the matter further.

Sesselja and Brynja Sif are less than convinced. “He says it’s because of organisational changes, but it doesn’t look that way,” they told reporters. “For us, this is directly connected to the discussion [on our work conditions]. If this was for organisational changes, why were only two people fired?,” adding that the cinema is actually in need of employees.

For now, management has refused to comment further on the matter.

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