Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise Warns Against Companies Raising Prices

Halldór Benjamín

Halldór Benjamín Þorbergsson, head of the SA Confederation of Icelandic Enterprise, warns against businesses raising their prices in the wake of recent union deals in Iceland, RÚV reports.

Union leaders have been negotiating with the confederation over the last weeks and months in order to raise salaries of their members. But many companies have said that they in turn intend to raise their prices to deal with the added expenditure that comes with the new deals.

“It is no secret that the negotiated increases in salary will be tough on some companies, but that should test the possibility of businesses rearranging operations and searching for more advantageous ways to do business,” Halldór said in a post on the confederation’s website. “Everybody must contribute and be responsible. That goes for those with the highest salaries too,” he added.

A few companies have come out recently, saying that they are forced to raise the prices of their products in the wake of the new union deals. One such company, ÍSAM, caused outrage when they declared that they intend to raise their prices by 3.9% and the prices of imported goods by 1.9%

In his new post, Halldór talks about the recent deals, explaining how they center around a four-pronged solution: “Higher salaries, especially for those with low incomes, an increased flexibility to shorten the workweek, lower taxes and ways to create an atmosphere that is conducive to lowering taxes in Iceland, indefinitely.”

Big “Plogging” Day a Roaring Success

plastic

Yesterday, citizens of Iceland were encouraged to go out and pick up garbage in their neighbourhood as a part of the big “plogging” day.

The initiative, spearheaded by Einar Bárðason amongst others has quickly gained traction, with Iceland’s president Guðni Th. Jóhannesson and Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson both taking part. “I think it’s safe to say that the initiative grew by thousands of percentages,” a pleased Einar told reporters at the end of the day.

“Plogging” is a relatively new term, that combines the verb “jogging” and “picking”. It has been used to describe the act of going out for a jog with a bag in hand, picking up garbage as it is discovered. In Icelandic the verb “plokka” has been used, which literally means “plucking”. It is unclear how much jogging was involved yesterday but according to Einar, the day was a smashing success, with around nine planned locations in and around Reykjavík attracting nature lovers of all ages.

The proceedings were kicked off early yesterday by Guðmundur Ingi and Atli Svavarsson, a young environmentalist, as they ceremoniously cut a plastic ribbon that had become entangled in a birch tree.

“I’ve been plogging for a while,” Guðmundur Ingi told reporters. “I worked as a park ranger for a while and that’s where I picked it up. If there’s garbage in front of you, you pick it up! It’s as simple as that.”

At the end of the day, Einar estimated that around one thousand garbage bags had been filled in the proceedings.

The Guitar is Dead

guitar

If you only read the headlines, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the guitar is having a tough time recently. After all, electric guitar sales have been steadily declining for some time. Today, the guitar heroes of yore seem to have been replaced by laptop-wielding electronic producers and perennial mega pop stars. On May 1, 2018, the Gibson company, one of the most celebrated and well-known guitar manufacturers in the world, filed for bankruptcy protection, sending shockwaves through the music industry and sparking all kinds of speculation about the future of the six-stringed instrument. “I don’t know. Maybe the guitar is over,” Eric Clapton himself wondered in an interview.

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The Directorate of Labour Cancels Annual Celebration Due to Increased Workload

The Directorate of Labour has cancelled its intended annual workplace celebration due to an increased workload resulting from the bankruptcy of WOW Air, RÚV reports. The government agency has fielded around 700 applications for unemployment benefits this month alone.

According to Unnur Sverrisdóttir, the head of the Directorate of Labour, the intended trip was supposed to happen last weekend. Ironically, the agency’s workforce had planned on flying abroad via WOW Air, but nothing came of it.

“What we thought would be a normal April month has turned into something completely different,” Unnur says, explaining that the agency’s workload has increased quite a bit in the wake of WOW Air’s collapse.

The airlines bankruptcy caused around 1100 people to lose their job in one day, a record number in the Icelandic labour market according to Unnur.

The Directorate of Labour is planning on another trip for its workers, intended to take place once things slow down at their offices. Meanwhile, Unnur and other administrators at the agency urge people to show their employees their gratitude for a job well done, whilst they wait for their well-deserved annual celebration.

Icelandic Man Killed In Norway

fatal accident Iceland

Gísli Þór Þórarinsson, a forty year old Icelander residing in Mehamn in Norway was shot and killed last Saturday morning, Fréttablaðið reports. The man’s half-brother is in police custody, thought to have pulled the trigger. A third Icelander who is believed to have been present has been questioned by local police, but denies direct involvement in the tragedy.

Police in Mehamn was notified that a man had been shot around half-past five, early Saturday morning. When they arrived on the scene they found a man in critical condition. Attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful.

The man arrested for the murder is the deceased’s half-brother. Shortly after the shooting he took to Facebook, asking for forgiveness in a post, admitting that he had committed a “heinous act that will follow me for the rest of my life”.

The third man will be brought before a judge today and is expected to be taken into custody while Mehamn police investigates.

According to Vísir, police has been unable to interrogate the suspected shooter, who has been in custody since early Saturday morning, but he is reported to have threatened the deceased before the shooting. In fact, a restraining order is was issued against him by Norwegian authorities on april 17.

According to reports Gísli Þór was a respected member of the Mehamn community. A vigil was held in his memory at a local church Saturday evening.