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Public Sector Pay Raises Planned for Budget

The Stenbock House is the government building where the budget negotiations will take place.
The Stenbock House is the government building where the budget negotiations will take place. Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Ministers are pushing for salary increases in the public sector for next year's state budget, with negotiations scheduled to begin on September 6.

Pay raises have been suggested by the ministers of education, defense, interior, justice and social affairs, reported ERR radio.

Finance Minister Jürgen Ligi dubbed the pay-raise advocates “big spender ministers,” saying they are focusing on being re-elected. Salary rises will be possible, but mainly through cutting back in other areas, he said.

"Such is the government's general policy. The areas that have been squeezed the most are given some relief while another area has to tighten its belt,” he told ERR radio.

"We cannot simply draw up a negative budget [...] We have not yet exited the crisis in terms of the budget. We are under pressure by compulsory expenses and there is little room for maneuvering,” he said.

But Minister of Education Jaak Aaviksoo told Postimees that high inflation and the improving economy have led to a justified expectation for higher salaries that the government must take into account.

IRL Chairman Urmas Reinsalu has said that approaching negotiations for next year's national budget will raise serious arguments between the coalition parties. In compiling the 2012 budget, coalition parties had agreed to freeze operational costs for state agencies, but Reinsalu said that agreement would not stand for next year's budget.

 

Robin Ilves

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