The leadership of the Icelandic Confederation of Labor (ASÍ) demanded yesterday in a meeting with the Icelandic government the resignation of Minister of Finance Árni M. Mathiesen and Minister of Commerce Björgvin G. Sigurdsson.
“The government is seriously lacking credibility. I don’t see how we or the government can work our way out of these difficulties if the government is unable to improve its image and reconcile with the nation. That means reshuffling the government, the Central Bank, the Financial Supervisory Authority and other authorities,” president of ASÍ Gylfi Arnbjörnsson told Fréttabladid.
President of ASÍ Gylfi Arnbjörnsson. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
When asked why ASÍ has singled out Mathiesen and Sigurdsson, Arnbjörnsson replied, “because of the offices they hold, the ministers of finance and banking have to resign, regardless of whether they have broken laws or not.”
ASÍ is also demanding that MPs and ministers have the same wages as others when it comes to pensions. “In proposals that were recently revealed, their special rights decrease but they still exist,” Arnbjörnsson said. “This simply has to stop and it has to stop now. The government has to correct this if they want to reconcile with the public.”
The ASÍ leadership made its demands to Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde and Foreign Minister Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir in their meeting yesterday, which ASÍ had requested some time ago.
Haarde said Mathiesen and Sigurdsson have been subject to undeserved criticism lately and that it is the decision of the coalition parties, the Independence Party and the Social Democrats, who holds each office.
Haarde added that the government intends to launch formal cooperation with labor unions and employer associations. “It is important to have closer cooperation between the government and associations on the employment market.”
The government has scheduled a meeting with ASÍ, the Confederation of Icelandic Employers (SA) and the Federation of State and Municipal Employees (BSRB) on Friday. “There are many projects on which we need to cooperate. ASÍ has in my opinion many interesting proposals,” Haarde said.
The associations will be discussion their cooperation in a meeting today. According to Arnbjörnsson, that meeting and their meeting with the government on Friday are unrelated.
Click here to read more about today’s meeting.