Dirty fish at HB Grandi

When the economic crisis hit, the coalition of worker’s unions agreed to cancel pay-rises of 2.3% for their members that were supposed to happen in February according to their contracts. This was done at the request of employers who foresaw a difficult year ahead and needed to cut down costs as much as possible. 

Some unions were unhappy with this as the cancellations could also happen within the fisheries where a declingin ISK was leading to higher prices, ergo higher margins. But the employees of HB Grandi, one of Iceland’s largest fisheries still did not receive the pay-rise. 

Imagine their surprise when the management of HB Grandi last week recommended to the board that it should pay dividends of 8% from a 2.3 billion ISK profit of last year. 

Amidst an outcry in Iceland that once again, money-men were cheating their social duties to make a buck for themselves, Eggert Gudmundsson, CEO of HB Grandi told reporters that this was a “small token of apprieaciaton for capital”. 

So how do they show appreaciation for their workers? By sending out a press release where they called for celebration that they could provide them with employment. 

Amongst the owners are Olafur Olafsson, who was handed Bunadarbankinn (later Kaupthing) by the Progressive Party during the bank-privatization and Kristjan Loftsson whose connections with the Independent Party have granted him permission for whaling, where his personal interests were deemed more important than the ones of Iceland’s reputation abroad. 

I remember working in a fisherie a long time ago where a couple of employees who were unhappy enjoyed themselves by stuffing tobacco and snot into the fish. I will be careful to not buy HB Grandi products for a while.


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