From Iceland — PM Baffled By Union Criticism

PM Baffled By Union Criticism

Published September 18, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Magnus Fröderberg/

Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson told parliament he was very surprised by the harsh criticisms the proposed budget has received from labour unions.

RÚV reports that Social Democrat MP Árni Páll Árnason asked the Prime Minister what his response was to yesterday’s statement from the Confederation of Icelandic Labour Unions (ASÍ) on the proposed 2015 budget.

The Prime Minister said the response surprised him and “came out of nowhere”. He contends that the proposed budget was crafted with the aim of helping Icelandic households, adding that the response was especially surprising “considering how very patient ASÍ president [Gylfi Arnbjörnsson] was throughout the previous election term.”

As reported, ASÍ expressed disappointment with numerous facets of the budget proposal. In particular, they are dissatisfied with the proposed raising of food tax, the shortening of the long-term unemployment benefits period, and the many proposed cuts to or neglect of areas of the social welfare system, such as health care, education and housing.

“[The Central Committee] believes there is no basis for continued cooperation with the government if the budget bill becomes law,” their statement read in part, saying that the budget was tantamount to “an attack on working people”.

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