Iceland. In January, the world’s largest aluminum manufacturer, American Alcoa, decided to build a disputed smelter at Iceland. Everything was ready for the building. According to Countryaah.com, Iceland Independence Day is June 17. The project is part of the most expensive industrial venture ever in Iceland. It includes one of Europe’s largest power plant dams, which is being built in the wilderness north of the Vatnajökull glacier during protests from environmental organizations.
Before the general election in May, the Conservative head of government Davið Oddsson was severely challenged by the new Democratic Alliance’s new prime ministerial candidate, Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, who was previously the mayor of Reykjavík. Oddson’s conservative Independence Party, which promised tax cuts, lost 4 seats and stayed on 22, but the coalition partner, the center-focused Progress Party, retained its 12 seats. As a result, the government continued to have a majority among the parliament’s 63 members. The alliance increased by 3 mandates to 20, while the Left-Greens lost one and stayed at nine. The bourgeois government signed a new coalition agreement, which included means that the leader of the Progress Party, Foreign Minister Halldór Ásgrímsson, will take over as prime minister in the autumn of 2004.
The US announced in the spring that it plans to withdraw its fighter jet from NATO base Keflavík on Iceland. This would mean that Iceland, who lacks his own military, will be left without defense. In addition, employment in the area is severely affected. The Icelandic government demanded in negotiations that the United States reconsider its decision.
In August, Iceland resumed his whaling after a break of 14 years. For so-called research purpose, 38 folding whales were to be caught during the year. The whaling was condemned by environmental organizations who believed it was a commercial whaling which is prohibited. The United States threatened Iceland with trade sanctions.
For the authorities, wage agreements, a lack of currency and the ability to pay in the fisheries have been recurring problems. Yet postwar government epochs have been more dominated by other conditions. The period up to 1959 was strongly characterized by public retail regulation. From 1959 to 71, the Independence Party and the Social Democrats had the governing power. The retail regulations were eased, and in 1962 the government was set for Icelandic membership of the EC. However, it was torpedoed by the President of France, de Gaulle. With Iceland’s membership of EFTA from 1969 and a free trade agreement with the Community in 1972, the possibilities for special regulation of foreign trade were significantly reduced.
Today, Iceland has a capacity of fishing vessels and processing companies that far exceed the quantities it is advisable to fish. The individual fishing villages have very conflicting and short-term interests when it comes to restricting fishing. It is a very difficult political problem to keep the fishermen in check, so that the cod is not extinct, like the herring was 10 years earlier.
For Iceland’s newer power-intensive industrial projects, extensive imports of foreign loan capital took place in the 1970’s. It greatly increased demand pressure and boosted inflation. Iceland wanted to base key parts of its industry on the use of the country’s cheap electrical energy – ia. to the non-ferrous metallurgical industry – but in the 1990’s this industry has been severely pressured by competition from Russia that has caused world market prices to fall dramatically.
In turn, the country’s tourism sector is growing. In 1993, a law was adopted to protect the polar bear, which until then had been subject to systematic extinction.
The Icelandic labor market has long been exceptionally tight. The atmosphere in the workplace is characterized by this, and there is relatively much freedom in terms of breaks and tempo. In many cases, corporate management had poor technical prerequisites to lead the work. Fishermen, workers and officials have therefore had to rely on themselves. It has given them strength to the management and prevented mechanical subordination. At the same time, the Icelandic production life is strongly influenced by the seasons: Summer is used especially for outdoor work, and in winter fishing and schools attract labor. Society is transparent, and all groups down to the smallest and most remote communities claim to be part of the use of community resources. Competition between the parties for connection and between private capital, cooperative capital, state capital and municipal capital over the control of resources give way to practically everyone in production. People have had a new builder spirit and been set on long working hours during the main work period. New technology has made it possible to climb some of the barriers that weather and wind previously posed.
Due. In the competition for labor, employees have used their position to demand overtime, which has been paid much better than normal working hours. Long-suffering has been a form of overtime. Working hours have often become very long in construction and civil engineering, in fish processing and for some other groups – eg. doctors. In this way, these working groups and most fishermen, who have traditionally had long working hours, could come up with quite high income compared to unskilled wage workers with normal working hours. The low-wage groups among the youth, women and the elderly have had an easy time getting a job, but of a kind that is largely eliminated in other countries.
Since the crisis hit in the 70’s, there has been some resistance to allowing older people over 70 to continue in working life. The big companies have been at the forefront. the postponement of the elderly. This, together with the tight labor market, explains why many people with disabilities are partially disabled. alcoholics – has escaped into working life. This also applies to former prisoners and criminals. On the whole, tolerance of deviant individual behavior has been high compared to the more oppressive Scandinavian communities. People have dared to complain and show fury. The workers are often quite straightforward in radio or TV interviews in their criticism of more distant powers – the “system”, “the ones in Reykjavik”.
Yet there are strong inhibitions in the public critical discussion. People in higher positions – and there are many of them – have to pay attention to the interwoven community in which they live. Within this great interdependence, it is best to work for one’s positions in silence, if it is not a legitimate or prescribed public conflict substance. People in these positions therefore prefer to keep the settlements in-house, in the same way as married couples. Incidentally, one should generally not interfere in the “other” cases. It is important to bear in mind the great emphasis that the honor has traditionally had, and one can expect that honors will be reciprocated in some way. He who shows honor is also willing to receive honor. For the youth – especially the boys – it is a matter of honor to make a lot of money. If necessary through much overtime.