Union Official Worried About Tourism Industry Workers

Union Official Worried About Tourism Industry Workers

Published September 1, 2014

Photos by
Alísa Kalyanova

The managing director of one of Iceland’s largest trade unions says they are “extremely worried” about workers in the tourism industry.

“We are extremely worried about [workers within] this field,” Drífa Snædal, the Managing Director of the Federation of General and Special Workers in Iceland (SGS), told Vísir. “If Iceland intends to build up the tourism industry, it will have to really clean house.”

Drífa says that unions around the country have had to deal with reports of employees filing grievances, mostly about being paid unfairly.

“There are two types of groups within the tourism industry,” she said. “Those who don’t pay the right wages due to ignorance, and those who don’t pay the right wages due to intent,” adding that there are numerous employers who are reluctant to pay the right wages.

The largest complaints to come forward are that employers pay daytime wages regardless of what shift is worked; that they pay “jafnaðarkaup” (“median pay”, which almost always shortchanges the worker); that pay is made in cash and off the books; and that employers are not paying the proper amounts into pension funds, insurance funds, or union dues, while other obligatory payments are skipped.

For more on the state of workers in the service industry, see also:

Workers Unite! How the service industry exploits workers, and why nothing is changing

So What’s This Unfair Treatment Of Young Employees I Keep Hearing About?

Undocumented Work In Tourist Industry On The Rise

Support The Reykjavík Grapevine!
Book your day tours in Iceland right here!

Go travel with Grapevine tried and recommended tours by Grapevine. Fund Grapevine journalism by booking with us.


Show Me More!