Menn í vinnu: Wage claims, a fine and another mutation
Before Easter, the legal office Réttur sent letters to companies which rented workers from the temp agency Menn í vinnu this winter. In the letter, it is made clear that, due to laws on chain responsibility, they are liable for their workers’ unpaid wages, even if their work is bought through a temp agency.
“What we’re hoping is that these companies take care, in future, that their employees from temp agencies get correct pay and decent conditions,” says Viðar Þorsteinsson, managing director of Efling. “They are legally responsible for making sure of this, and it’s to nobody’s credit that things have come to this.”
Menn í vinnu made the news in February when employees contacted media, unions and police. They complained that their wages hadn’t been paid and that they had suffered threats and ill treatment. The social services of Kópavogur and Reykjavík took the people into its care temporarily and Efling brought in the legal office Réttur to take on their cases. The data collected by Réttur are now being analyzed to see if there is reason to file a lawsuit over the company’s practices and its treatment of employees.
Last week, the Directorate of Labour fined Menn í vinnu to the tune of 2.5 million ISK, for massive discrepancies between its registration of employees and employees’ tax payments. This is the first time a fine of this sort is levied.
The people behind Menn í vinnu have now founded a new company, Seigla ehf. (In English: “Endurance”.)
“We encourage all companies not to do business with this latest progeny of the Icelandic labour market,” says Sólveig Anna Jónsdóttir, chair of Efling. “It would save the union significant legal expenses.”
After the news in February broke, several of the Menn í vinnu employees were hired directly to the companies which had rented them. These companies have been exempted from the current legal proceedings.