Iceland tourist industry shaken by a scandal

Stundin, an Icelandic newspaper has published an article about how many Icelandic horse rentals use volunteers and/or very cheap staff to work on their riding tours. In accordance with the article this is done by “hiring” foreign workers (mostly girls around 20 years old) which do not register in Iceland and get paid only very little (far below minimum wages) or even no wages in some cases for their work while in Iceland, this practice is also called social dumping. They usually work for a short time in Iceland, usually just few months. The workers can have long working days and perhaps only 1 day off every week (sometimes less) and only get paid a small amount for their work, if anything. The firms which do this also save huge amounts on taxes and other wage related fees, gaining a huge competitive advantage against the firms (horse rentals) who do things legally.

Insurances for unregistered workers might not be in order either, so these young people can risk much by working for these scandalized horse rentals. This kind of illegal practices skews competition between those who do things legally and those who choose to us illegal practices as well as giving the owners of the cheating firms huge personal profits. It’s illegal to pay staff less than legal minimum wages in Iceland for their work and firms also have to pay taxes and other fees for each employee, but many horse rentals choose not to a follow the laws and “hire” cheap (free) workers, thus giving them self huge competition advantages and profits.

What do we do at Íslenski Hesturinn

We at Íslenski Hesturinn pay all our staff members wages (above minimum wages), which includes taxes and union fees, as well as insurances. That’s in our mind fair towards our staff, the government, unions, the competitors and our guests which visit the horse rental. Every worker in the world should be paid fair pay for their work, that goes for Icelandic horse rentals as well, that’s only fair play.

We at Íslenski Hesturinn have always believed that other horse rentals were not abusing young foreign workers. But it seem in some cases, like with for example Sólhestar Horse Rental (according to the article), that horse rentals have cheated for tens of millions ISK each year by using fraudulent methods. That’s unfair against other horse rentals (firms) which do want to do things legally and it’s also unfair towards the workers and of course the customers. We do ask travellers in Iceland to consider not doing business with cheating firms which use fraudulent methods.

According to the article in Stundin, these are the cheating horse rentals (all these horse rentals are mentioned in the article in connection with social dumping):

Stóri Kambur
Geysir Hestar

Please stay away from horse rentals and also others firms which don’t have registered staff which get paid by Icelandic collective agreements.