All 47 workers employed by the Radar Agency of Iceland were relieved of their duties yesterday, which is a part of the reorganization of the Icelandic Air Defense System. The employees expected the dismissals and had prepared for them.
“It was foreseeable that a new employer would want to clear the board and start from scratch, nothing else could have happened,” Svanur Thorsteinsson, the shop steward representing the Radar Agency’s technicians told Fréttabladid.
They employees were notified of their dismissals at a meeting yesterday afternoon.
“Everyone had been prepared for this, but it is certainly not a comfortable situation not knowing how many will get their job back or how the agency will be operated,” Thorsteinsson said. “But considering the situation, our spirits were high.”
Even the agency’s director, Ólafur Örn Haraldsson, was relieved of his duties.
The Icelandic government takes over the operations of the Radar Agency from the US today, and according to Iceland’s Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, the dismissals are part of a plan to reduce costs and reorganize the institute.
The US spent about ISK 1,200 million (USD 18 million, EUR 13 million) per year to operate the Radar Agency, but the Icelandic government expects to be able to lower the cost to at least ISK 800 million (USD 12 million, EUR 9 million).
To cut costs the agency’s current contracts had to be terminated, including its contracts for employment. Its employees have a six-month resignation period and after that, Gísladóttir said, most can expect to be rehired.