Falling tax revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic may mean cultural workers' salaries may be frozen for 2021, Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) Tuesday night.
"At the moment, the government has not agreed on whether to do this (i.e. boost salaries in the culture sector – ed.) via loan money, so I could not allow a general salary increase today," Lukas said, according to ERR's Estonian-language Culture portal.
Lukas said that he hopes a salary support system for choir and orchestra conductors will be launched next year.
The Estonian Employees' Unions' Confederation (TALO), an umbrella organization for civil servants' unions wants to raise the minimum wage for cultural workers to the average gross wage in 2021, which is currently estimated at €1,428 per month, having made an initial application of €1,544.
Ago Tuuling of TALO, said that Tõnis Lukas has rejected this second sum, but that a compromise may be sought.
"If compromises are needed, we will try to fit the amount somewhere between the two figures [mentioned above]," Tuuling told AK, confirming that in addition to an increase in the minimum wage, an overall 8 to 12 percent increase in the work support fund has been requested.
Tõnis Lukas also stressed the importance of maintaining the song festival traditions; while the next major national song festival is in 2024, choir and dance troupe preparations, rehearsals, staffing etc. are ongoing.
Editor: Andrew Whyte