Reykjavík councilpersons receive bonuses for attending meetings that amount to a monthly wage for many city workers. Socialists want to end this practice, and will submit a bill to City Council to that effect.
In a statement from the Socialist Party of Iceland, they point out that Reykjavík Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson sat at five meetings of the capital area fire department last year, and received about 492,000 ISK for each meeting — on top of his monthly salary of about 2 million ISK. According to public records, each of these meetings lasted an hour or two.
At the same time, cleaning staff who work for the city are typically paid a minimum wage of about 300,000 ISK per month. As such, the mayor was paid more for a single hour in a meeting than the people cleaning his office will see in a month.
“We need to face the fact that this salary reveals the corruption of the political leadership and something should be done about,” Socialist Party councilperson Sanna Magdalena Mörtudóttir says in the statement. “The first step ought to be to prohibit these people from taking bonuses for meetings that they sit on during their working hours, which is clearly a part of their regular duties that they are paid to do.”
Daníel Örn Arnarsson, Sanna’s deputy on City Council, also takes the matter very seriously.
“This is not only poison within the political system and within politicians themselves, corruption that undermines honour in politics, but also an intolerable disrespect for honest workers,” Daníel says. “The woman who cleans the office of Dagur B. Eggertsson is probably paid minimum wage, 300,000 ISK per month. Dagur himself takes 330,000 ISK for a single hour in a meeting with the fire department. City councilpersons must stop this.”
To put an end to this, the Socialists will submit a bill to City Council calling for the abolition of bonuses for attending meetings, councils and committees that are held during working hours.
“They tell us that this is only a fraction of the city’s overhead,” Sanna says. “For this reason, these payments are allowed to continue and to grow. But this is a pretext. If the bonuses hurt us, then we must end them. It will come to light at the next City Council meeting which councilpersons are ready to put an end to the bonuses that have been going on here for far too long.”