Ligi Hits Back at Opposition's Teacher Salary Claims
Finance Minister Jürgen Ligi has rejected an assertion by an opposition MP that the government had set a goal of raising teachers' average salaries to a level 20 percent above the national average wage by 2015.
Answering questions posed in Parliament on March 14, Ligi said that he doubted the salaries would hit that level by that year, and said that he was unaware of Minister of Education Jaak Aaviksoo ever having made such a claim.
His comment was directed at Social Democrat MP Jaak Allik, who had asked how many teachers would have to be laid off over the next three years to meet the target.
Ligi said that it was unlikely that the salaries could be increased to that level. “It's such a big sum that I'm afraid that teachers wouldn't survive as there would be too few of them left, and we don't need that,” he said.
Regarding what Aaviksoo had actually said on the matter, Ligi said that it had been misreported in the media.
“I would suggest going to the original source and asking what he in fact promised. I did not hear him promise that teachers would be getting 20 percent above the average salary by 2015 and I don't believe that,” he said.
In the official transcript of a Cabinet press conference on December 8, Aaviksoo does indeed announce a goal of raising salaries to that level, but takes care not to set down a precise date.
Last week teachers engaged in a three-day, nationwide strike with the goal of raising their base salaries by 20 percent this year.