Visiting Hvassaleiti

Published by Efling on

A woman working 80% in home care at Reykjavík city, with nearly 30 years’ experience, gets just about 220 thousand per month. Her son, who has just begun working, was hired by an electronics store. He gets higher pay than his mother from day one. Can anyone explain to them why her work and experience is less valuable than an inexperienced clerk’s?

The home workers in Hvassaleiti were ready to fight for better conditions when Sólveig Anna and Ragnar Ólason visited them this morning. People there are resentful, as they are in other workplaces visited by Efling recently. They resent the kind of justice which makes these decisions on pay and conditions for the people caring, clothing and feeding other people. What kind of justice is there in kitchen workers being worth nothing in their payslip? Who decided that caring for children and the elderly should be the lowliest profession in Iceland? Who decided that 220 thousand was sufficient for a woman who has dedicated her life to caring for others? And who decided that it was acceptable to add stress to stress, making the lowest paid run ever faster, without ever improving their pay in return? This is systemic injustice, gender injustice, it has to stop!

Reykjavík city workers know what their labour is worth. They know that if they don’t run faster, it hurts those who can bear it the least. So they do run faster, putting their own health and wellbeing at risk. But they have had enough. They want higher wages, better working conditions, and they want the elite to see and accept that their labour is of immeasurable value to Icelandic society.