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Management Reluctantly Warming Up To Raising Minimum Wage In Iceland

Management Reluctantly Warming Up To Raising Minimum Wage In Iceland

Andie Fontaine
Words by
Photos by
Art Bicnick

Published October 11, 2018

With what looks to be shaping up to be a hard collective bargaining fight ahead, the managing director of the Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise (SA) appears ready to make some concessions, albeit conditionally.

The current minimum wage in Iceland is 300,000 ISK, and the Federation of General and Special Workers in Iceland (SGS), a large federation of public workers, wants to see that raised to 425,000 ISK. This demand will in all likelihood be included in their negotiations. Numerous other labour unions have expressed similar desires, and SA managing director Halldór Benjamín Þorgbergsson is conditionally open to the idea, RÚV reports.

“We need to realise the situation in the Icelandic business world and see which companies could pay this wage,” he said, adding that some companies would likely not be able to pay these wages. How many are unable, and how many are simply unwilling, is a whole other subject.

SGS has also suggested shortening what is considered full time from 40 hours per week to 32. Halldór responds to this by suggesting that overtime hours be reduced instead.

That said, he does see areas of agreement between management and labour already. Both sides would like to see collective bargaining agreements secured for the next three or four years, for example, and he does believe that the minimum wage can be raised—the question, as the upcoming negotiations will show, is by how much.


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