The Icelandic Cabinet decided on Friday to reverse the decision of the Labor Court concerning salaries of the Prime Minister, President, members of the Althingi, judges and other top officials when the Icelandic Parliament, the Althingi, reconvenes on January 17. The Labor Court had previously decreed that salaries would increase by 8% on January 1, but this decision had caused an uproar and many people, including the Prime Minister himself, wanted the decision overturned. A proposal to invalidate the Labor Court’s ruling and instead increase salaries by 2.5% from February 1 will now be put to the Althingi when it reconvenes.
Members of the opposition had wanted the Althingi to be reconvened between Christmas and New Year so that a decision could be made then in order to prevent any wage increases taking place from January 1. Indeed, some officials receive their salary in advance, so wage increases will take effect immediately in some cases.
Law professor Eiríkur Tómassson said in the Icelandic State Broadcasting news bulletin on Friday night that the constitution decrees that a President’s salary cannot be decreased. However, Geir Haarde, Minister of Foreign Affairs and chair of the Independence Party, said that he has no qualms about the legality of the Cabinet’s decision.