Sunday, December 5, 2021

Iceland brings in highest minimum wage in the world

Must read

Iceland, with its staggeringly egalitarian political culture and craven pursuit of global wealth, has adopted the highest possible minimum wage, a free universal university education and a system of universal health care.

Now the country has also adopted the minimum requirement of a parliamentary majority and has elected one of its first ever female-majority parliamentarians.

Dagny Ásk Snorri Sigurðardóttir, an activist and former journalist, was elected in a runoff over a long-time political leader, Gudni Thúy, who was forced to quit the party after being accused of sex abuse.

Sigurðardóttir told a news conference on Monday that she “seemed like the most sensible candidate and that I had the support of enough potential coalition partners”.

Her party’s electoral support was sufficient to win a majority of seats in the 216-seat parliament, despite partaking in a minority coalition with a cross-party alliance that includes the Pirate Party. “By being part of a coalition, we had to agree on a programme that included a prime minister who resigned,” she said.

Following Iceland’s 2008 financial crisis, nearly a quarter of the workforce was forced to take a job with their own money, the poorest being pensioners. A worldwide outcry, along with enlightened elements in the Icelandic financial sector, led to a bailout of the European country’s economy and a new wave of industrial policy and social welfare provisions.

Sigurðardóttir, a common man who was born into a middle-class family in the western part of the country, called for the elimination of poverty, reducing gender disparity and advocating a higher minimum wage.

“I think that this is a very strong statement for democracy, that minority parties have been able to form a large majority,” she said.

More articles

Latest article