Head of the Icelandic Confederation of Labor, Gylfi Arnbjörnsson, says the number of violations against employees has increased rapidly in Iceland, RÚV reports. He states the discovery of the human trafficking case in Vík í Mýrdal on Thursday last week, where two women were found, believed to be to be in forced labor, is part of the unions’ fight against unlawful practices.
Gylfi told RÚV the effort has been going on for a few weeks. “And it turns out there are incredibly many violations, and this bad case in Vík í Mýrdal is connected to this effort.” He stressed that such violations of workers’ rights would not be tolerated, neither grave ones, such as in Vík, nor the more common practice of underpaying young people and foreigners who don’t know their rights well.
Recently, there have been frequent reports in the media about foreign workers being underpaid and young people being paid the same hourly rate, whether they work day shifts or night shifts.
Gylfi is appalled by the fact that in 2016, there are employers in Iceland who deliberately misuse their position by violating workers’ rights.
The Red Cross is preparing for an initiative, aimed at fighting human trafficking, and has obtained funding for that from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, according to RÚV. Björn Teitsson, public relations officer from the Red Cross, says part of the effort will include expanding the services of the 1717 phone helpline. Staff is being trained to be able to advise victims or people who believe they know of cases of human trafficking.