Employment matters

A high employment level is one of the foundations of the welfare society, and thus it is the most vital task of authorities, at any given time, to ensure that most people are able to pursue work. The aim of the trade union movement is to improve the living conditions and quality of life of wage earners and uphold basic requirements with equality, justice and social responsibility as a counterbalance to the employer’s profitability criteria.

Dynamic public services form the social infrastructure that ensures equality and access to healthcare services, social services and education as well as official investments ensuring physical infrastructure such as structures, transport, telecommunications and other infrastructure that are necessary in every society. The public services and official investments thus return social dividends by forming the necessary foundation for dynamic business communities and innovation. BSRB demands that the public services be strengthened by developing an even stronger public labour market that is fully able to compete with the private sector when it comes to employees.

BSRB places emphasis on an employment policy being developed for Iceland in consultation with the members of the employment sector to strengthen the foundations of the economic system. The labour market is undergoing major changes due to the technological changes of the fourth industrial revolution, necessary adaptation of industries due to climate change and proportionate aging of the nation over the next years and decades, all of which must be taken into account. The policy must also take account of just transition to carbon neutrality. What this means for the labour market is that an emphasis must be placed on green investments that create jobs which are fairly salaried, provide employment security and work-related rights and ensure that employees get the opportunity to influence their own working conditions. Green investments should thus not only be assessed based on financial benefits, but also based on the impact on the quantity and quality of work positions. An important aspect in the transition is to enable people to strengthen their knowledge and skills with life-long learning and continuing education in order to take on new and altered jobs.

BSRB wants the position of the country’s regions to be strengthened so that they are attraction for people for residency and work. The development of the business community and public services must be strengthened throughout Iceland. Energy price must be comparable throughout the country, as must access to Internet connection; the adoption of the fibre-optic cable is essential for jobs and education with no fixed location. New civil service jobs must be created in all regions of the country instead of transferring jobs between regions. The experience has shown that the transferring of jobs between the country’s regions has a negative effect on staff, the operations of the institution in question and the services that are to be provided.

The government, together with the trade union movement and the representatives of employers, must contribute to actively attend to those who, for some reason, no longer participate in the labour market. Particular attention must be paid to long-term unemployed people so that they will not become socially and economically isolated and so that they have the opportunity to study and train for new jobs. The government should lead by example by creating jobs with appropriate adaption and flexible working hours for people with reduced work capacity.

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