Miners Planning Protest on Collective Bargaining Issue (1)
Barely a week after unions staged the largest labor action Estonia has seen in decades, members of another union, the Independent Union of Miners and Energy Workers, are planning to make their voices heard in a protest against changes to the law on collective bargaining.
The demonstration, to take place in Jõhvi's central square on March 17, echoes one of the main demands of a major rally that took place in Tallinn a month earlier, namely a reversal of a parliamentary committee's recent amendments to the Collective Agreements Act that allow employers to unilaterally pull out of a collective agreement six months after it expires.
The Central Confederation of trade unions has proposed that, instead, collective agreements could expire after two years of negotiations with cancellation only possible through a state conciliator.
Vladislav Ponjatovski, head of the Independent Union of Miners and Energy Workers, told rus.err.ee that there would be no political demands or slogans at the March 17 event, as it would focus solely on the collective bargaining issue.
He said that he expects around 2,000 workers to turn up at the rally, including members of other unions from nearby industrial towns of Sillamäe, Kiviõli, Kohtla-Järve and Narva.
A three-day teachers' strike held from March 7 to 9 triggered a wave of strikes across Estonia last week, partly in sympathy for the teachers' demands of higher salaries and partly as a show of disapproval of the changes in the collective bargaining law.