Teachers Head Back to Bargaining Table, Emboldened by New Minister's Reforms
The Ministry of Education and Research, local government leaders and the country's main union for educators launched talks today in Tallinn on salaries and other points in the collective bargaining agreement.
Teachers, who went on strike in March 2012 in a labor dispute that was then rare in Estonia, are looking for salaries that would bump them up to the level of other university-educated specialists, ETV reported.
Currently teachers have a minimum salary of 800 euros a month, 80 percent of the national average wage. Currently wages are rising faster than the teachers' pay.
Minister of Education and Research Jevgeni Ossinovski, who has wasted no time in instituting reforms on a number of fronts, told ETV that a good teaching salary should be 1,200 euros, comparable to a college-educated specialist and higher than the average salary in Estonia.
When they went on strike, teachers wanted a 20 percent increase in salaries.
Eventually they secured promises of about 12 percent more money for local governments, but critics have said that increase, from at the beginning of 2013, has not trickled down to teachers.
Compared to 2012, the minimum wage has risen from 644 euros to 800 euros and the average wage in April 2014 was 962, up from 812 euros.