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Acute Police Illness

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Acute Police Illness

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

Police officers have called in sick at almost every police station contacted by RÚV this morning. Only one station had no reported illness.

The Ministry of Finance sent out a notice yesterday saying it had learned that members of the police force intended to report sick today and in coming days. This is intended as part of their fight for better pay. For this reason, the Ministry of Finance has threatened to sue the police.

Snorri Magnússon, head of the Police Federation of Iceland told RÚV he first heard of the illness when he received a letter from the ministry, saying it had learned of the police force’s plan to call in sick. He emphasized the Police Federation had not organized the action. The Federation, he said, had no way of controlling what officers discussed at police stations, cafés or on Facebook. He stressed that police officers were tired of broken promises by politicians who praise them on holidays but refuse to raise their pay. He described the police force as understaffed by two to three hundred people and under a lot of pressure. People had had enough.

Brynjar Níelsson, MP for the Independence Party, told RÚV he understood the officers’ fight for better pay, but said they must follow the law like anyone else.

Police have been active in their fight lately. September 11, members of the police all over the country showed solidarity by being on traffic control duty between 3:00 and 3:30 pm. Friday, September 18, all police disappeared from the streets between 2:00 and 4:00 pm to work on reports. Friday, October 2, they gathered by government offices to bring attention to their fight for better wages at the beginning of a government meeting.

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