Healthcare sector seeks pay hike without collective agreement ({{commentsTotal}})

A healthcare worker walks with a patient in the hall of Pärnu Hospital's Nursing Care Centre. Source: (Mailiis Ollino)

Organizations representing the Estonian healthcare sector have reached an agreement on a pay increase without concluding a collective agreement and which must be approved by the Health Insurance Fund to be implemented.

The pay increase agreement does not mean that the parties have concluded a collective agreement, Secretary General of the Estonian Medical Association Katrin Rehemaa told BNS. "As assurances and guarantees on the part of the state are still absent, a proper collective agreement has not been signed," she explained.

"Time is running out," she continued. "We postponed the pay increase from the beginning of the year to April 1 as it is. The respective funds have been reserved in the Health Insurance Fund. The supervisory board of the Health Insurance Fund will hold a meeting tomorrow at which they must decide whether and how to change the price list including its pay component from April 1."

The Minister of Health and Labour has given to understand in the media that the supervisory board of the Health Insurance Fund lacks the basis upon which to make this decision unless a collective agreement has been signed, so it must be hoped that this preliminary agreement is sufficient in showing that these numbers have indeed been agreed upon, Rehemaa added.

The Public Conciliator decided in early February to terminate the conciliation procedure in the pay negotiations of the healthcare sector after an agreement failed to be reached with the Estonian Medical Association, the Estonian Nurses' Association, the Estonian Union of Healthcare Professionals, the Estonian Hospitals Association, the Estonian Ambulance Association and the Estonian Association of Family Doctors.

The Health Insurance Fund plans to spend €23 million on increasing healthcare workers' pay this year. Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski said earlier this month however, that wages could not be raised without a collective agreement.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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