The Estonian Employers' Confederation said one of the positive aspects of the political programs for the March 1 elections is that political parties are serious about tackling low salaries, but the actual minimum salary figure depends on an agreement between employers and trade unions, not politicians.
The employers' union said political parties tend to prefer idealistic slogans to realistic solutions, and are outbidding each other with promises of higher minimum salaries.
The confederation said the monthly minimum salary, currently at 390 euros gross per month, will increase in any case, but promising to double or even triple the salary in a few years would direct the low-salary workforce not toward the middle classes but toward unemployment.
“Just making a decision to become wealthy is impossible. Economic growth alone can increase the standard of living. That means learning, as a society, to do more work, to do the work more efficiently and to sell at a higher price,” the employers said, adding that education must become a way of life.
The confederation said political parties should focus on economic growth, reforming economic, finance, tax and education policies.
Talks on this year's minimum salary increase should start between the Employer's Confederation and the Trade Union Confederation after the elections. A long-term agreement is preferred, which would set the annual increase rate for the next few years.
All political parties have toyed with the minimum salary in their election platforms. The Center Party has promised a 1,000-euro monthly gross minimum salary from 2016, while the Social Democrats have promised 800 euros by 2019.
Editor: J.M. Laats