Teachers' union threatens strike over four-year pay freeze

Teachers for the first time now earn more than €1,200 on average.
Teachers for the first time now earn more than €1,200 on average. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

The Estonian Educational Personnel Union (EEPU) (Eesti haridustöötajate liit) is threatening to strike after the government decided to freeze teachers' salaries for the next four years during budget negotiations.

The union said 40 percent of Estonian teachers are considering resigning within the next five years. EPPU head Remo Voltri said one of the biggest reasons is uncompetitive wages.

The Ministry of Education and Research has said Estonian teachers salaries are one of the fastest rising in the OECD countries but Voltri said Estonia's starting position compared to teachers' salaries in other countries has been very low.

Last week ERR News reported the total budget for teachers' salaries will be €1.5 billion for the next four years, which will maintain the estimated average salary of teachers at €1,540.

The state has set a goal for the average monthly salary of teachers in Estonia to be 120 percent of the average monthly salary. 

Last year, the average monthly salary of teachers was 112 percent of the average salary. While Estonia's average monthly salary increased by 7.4 percent, teachers increased by 7 percent. The minimum wage for teachers is currently €1,315.

Although teachers have been allocated additional money for each budget since 2014, the rapid growth of Estonia's average gross monthly salary has made it difficult to achieve the targets set.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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