Prison guards in Iceland to resign Skip to content

Prison guards in Iceland to resign

Half of all prison guards in Iceland handed in their resignation yesterday and more are expected to follow. According to Icelandic law, prison guards are neither allowed to go on strike nor to resign en masse.

The State Prison Authority received 40 letters of resignation yesterday morning. The State employs 80 prison guards in total, and according to RÚV, 85 percent plan to resign, leaving only 12 prison guards working in Iceland.

The reason for these resignations is reportedly dissatisfaction with wages and work terms. Prison guards demand a 30 percent increase in wages and equal contract terms as police officers.

Sigurjón Birgisson, the leader of the Prison Guard Association, told RÚV that the State Prison Authority had been warned many times that prison guards would resign if their demands were not met.

Minister of Justice Björn Bjarnason said in a written statement to RÚV that these resignations contradict what had been discussed at an earlier meeting between him and the Prison Guard Association.

Bjarnason said he would investigate the legality of these resignations, but prison guards in Iceland are not allowed to go on strike or to resign en masse.

According to, Valtýr Sigurdsson, director of the State Prison Authority said prisons in Iceland need to be shut down if a solution cannot be found.

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