Special needs groups have organized demonstrations in six Estonian cities to protest against the planned work ability reform.
"These demonstrations are meant to give a clear message to the government. People with disabilities are against the work ability reform in its present form," said Tiina Kangro, leader of the Estonian Union for Carers. "People with special needs and those close to them demand that the government and the Parliament systematically revise the reform plan and set it on the right grounds."
The work ability reform has a direct impact on more than 100,000 people living with a disability or a persistent health problem; plus their care givers, family members and health specialists.
Kangro said that reform is necessary, but the current draft law requires substantial changes. Special needs groups have proposed a number of amendments, but she said these have not been taken into account sufficiently.
"If the reform will be implemented in its current form, the situation of many disabled people won't improve but could worsen instead. Moreover, it is wasting a lot of EU and Estonian taxpayers' money," she said.
Special needs groups have also launched an online petition that can be signed until the end of today.
The organization committee for Saturday's demonstrations includes members from nearly 20 different organizations and associations. Demonstrators also have the support of the Estonian Railway Workers Association and the Estonian Association of Pensioners.
Demonstrations will take place in Tallinn, Tartu, Rakvere, Viljandi, Narva and Pärnu between 12:00-13.00.