Leaders of labor unions in Iceland criticize the government’s lack of action to fight the growing unemployment in Iceland. They say support for innovation is fine but that further measures are needed since thousands are unemployed.
Almost 10,700 people were registered as unemployed at the Directorate of Labor yesterday, Fréttabladid reports.
“We cannot live off the Unemployment Insurance Fund happy and quietly because it will dry up quickly,” said Kristján Gunnarsson, chairman of the Labor and Fishermen Union of Keflavík.
Björn Snaebjörnsson, chairman of labor union Eining-Idja in the Eyjafjördur region, said it appears as if authorities are sleeping. “Nothing seems to be happening,” he said, however pointing out that the government does plan to support innovation.
“Of course every job is valuable, but these companies are small. Even if they grow and need employees, they don’t meet the needs of 11,000 unemployed individuals. We need vocational operations that are labor-intensive,” Snaebjörnsson added.
Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde said in parliament on December 9, 2008, that, “The government is doing what it can to counteract the imminent increase of unemployment, but it isn’t always that simple.”
Minister for Social Affairs Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir appointed a task force yesterday to form proposals on actions to fight unemployment.