“The Prime Minister’s own premises are not paying the minimum wage and that is in no way okay. We now have a claim filed,” says Harpa Ólafsdóttir, department head of wage issues at the Efling trade union.
Her comments come following the revelation that the cleaning company contracted to clean the Prime Ministry and other public buildings pays wages under the minimum permitted in the national wage negotiation contract.
The announcement at the end of last year that 17 cleaners at the ministry were being laid off and their jobs put out to tender caused outcry in some sectors. Efling has repeatedly emphasized the importance of making sure national employment standards are adhered to, even in subcontractor work.
“According to the complainant’s latest pay slip, which we were handed a few weeks ago, the member of staff in question is not being paid according to the collective bargaining contract. By this we mean that requirements are not being met, which are built on a minimum basic pay of at least ISK 214,000 (EUR 1,450/USD 1,615) a month,” Harpa told DV.
The location of the cleaners’ work gives the story added poignancy, though it is allegedly repeated in many other workplaces around the country. The Prime Minister and his ministry are not being blamed directly, as staff wages are dealt with by the cleaning company itself.