On Tuesday, Sigurður Örn Ágústsson, vice member of Alþingi on behalf of the Independence Party, said that work conditions and pay of Alþingi members must be taken up for reconsideration. Sigurður recommends raising his own and other members’ salary. This was reported by RÚV.
Sigurður claimed that the basic wages of members of parliaments in Iceland’s neighbouring countries, presumably the Scandinavian countries, were two to three times higher than average wages.
Sigurður further cited the irregular working hours of MPs, which he says extend, unpaid, into evenings, nights and weekends, while “chances are that a large portion of the country’s population will relentlessly criticise you in the media, including social media, usually without proper reasoning, for nothing but having a different political opinion.”
Alþingi members’ basic salary is, according to Sigurður, ISK 651,000 permonth, roughly equalling €4,000. “In comparison, the average regular monthly wage in Iceland is iSK 436,000 (ca. €2,700). Compared with the countries around us, the basic wages of a member of Iceland’s parliament are low and not in proportion with the job’s importance.”
The danger is, Sigurður further said, that if nothing is done, the job will only suit those who are already wealthy, “burning idealists” or “those who have no other choice for work.”
Sigurður granted that Alþingi’s cafeteria is good.