Hospital Director Pay Rise Reversed

20.9.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
A proposed pay rise for the director of the National Hospital has been axed.

As reported, last August the Ministry of Welfare decided to move forward with the proposal to raise National Hospital director Björn Zoega's salary by 450,000 ISK to 2.3 million ISK per month. Minister of Welfare Guðbjartur Hannesson defended the decision by saying that Björn is not only the hospital director; he is also a specialised surgeon, and the number of operations he has had to perform has been increasing significantly. The added work pressure, he says, led to the conclusion that a rise was in order.

However, Björn was also being courted by a large hospital in Sweden who wanted to hire him as the director there. The position would come with a higher salary than what Björn was getting, and this in turn prompted Guðbjartur to match the offer with a pay rise.

The proposed rise sparked controversy among the general public, with Progressive MP Eygló Harðardóttir telling reporters, "If a minister believes there is a reason to raise the salaries of his subordinates, it would naturally be most important to look towards those who are providing service directly."

RÚV now reports that the Ministry of Welfare reconsidered the decision, and the pay rise will not move forward as planned. For his part, Björn said that he never suspected the rise would ignite such a strong reaction in the general public, saying that he hoped "public servants could be able to expect a pay rise" for the work that they do.

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