The Association of Automobile Companies and the Estonian Transport and Road Workers Trade Union (ETTA) have agreed to postpone the bus drivers' pay increase scheduled to take place on April 13 until the end of May because of the current coronavirus crisis.
According to Villem Tori, director of the Association of Automobile Companies, bus drivers deserve higher pay, but there cannot be a pay increase during a crisis.
"The number of bus passengers has dropped drastically due to the emergency situation and bus companies have quickly fell into financial difficulties. Therefore, the pay increase of bus drivers must be delayed in order to help bus companies survive and preserving jobs," Tori explained.
"In a situation where many companies are announcing mass redundancies and reducing salaries by 30 percent and more, it is not realistic to talk about pay increase. We might be standing in front of a tidal wave of redundancies and substantial cuts, not pay increase," he added.
ETTA board chairman Üllar Kallas said that even though we are in an extensive crisis, the fact that there had been a severe lack of skilled staff in the passenger transport sector must not be overlooked.
The Association of Automobile Companies and ETTA signed a three-year agreement in January under which the minimum wage of a full-time bus driver was scheduled to increase to €1,050 from April 13. On April 24, the parties signed an amendment to the agreement under which the minimum wage of a full-time bus driver is €945 in the period of April 13 through May 31.
Editor: Anders Nõmm