Labour supervisory authorities have approved the break room and toilet Stay Apartments have at last provided their cleaning staff.
RÚV reports that the Administration of Occupational Safety and Health in Iceland (AOSH) paid a visit to Stay Apartments yesterday, in the wake of recent news that the owner had fired all eight cleaning workers there after they complained about not having a break room or even an employee bathroom.
AOSH director Eyjólfur Sæmundsson told reporters that Stay Apartments has converted a guest room into an employee break room, and said room meets all the legal requirements for what should be a fundamental part of the hotel’s workers’ rights.
As reported, the former employees in question had one request: staff facilities. As it was, those who cleaned the rooms and apartments for Stay Apartments had no break room, nor even their own bathroom. Instead, they used the toilets in the apartments they clean to relieve themselves.
“We said we wanted to get in touch with the AOSH, and get them on board to work out a solution,” former employee Ragnhildur Jóhannsdóttir told reporters at the time. Shortly thereafter, all eight employees were fired.
Halldór told reporters that he is aware that the arrangement he had made with the former employees violates work regulations, which requires that all employers provide their employees with bathroom facilities, so long as those facilities are not directly connected to the work area.
Furthermore, Halldór admitted to having fired all eight workers without notice, opting instead to sign a contract with the cleaning company Sólarþrif. He said as well that he had looked at a nearby apartment for a possible staff area, but was concerned that it would lead to “nothing changing and everything happening all over again”.
While Halldór now tells reporters the choice to fire all eight cleaners and hire Sólarþrif instead was for purely economic reasons, he admitted the complaints had an influence on his decision when he was questioned about it earlier this week.
“Whether it’s wrong, I don’t know, but [their complaints] pushed me to complete the contract [with Sólarþrif],” Halldór told reporters at the time. “It could very well be that I violated their rights on this occasion and didn’t listen to them well enough.”