Amendments to the Aliens Act put Estonian workers at a disadvantage, which is why the Social Democratic Party (SDE) cannot support the government-initiated bill, MP Lauri Laanemets has said.
"The government's bill prioritizes foreign workers over the people of Estonia - it guarantees the average wage in each sector for foreign workers, whereas it leaves local workers in uncertainty concerning their income," Laanemets said during the first reading of the bill in the Riigikogu on Wednesday, October 21.
"The average means that there is always someone earning less than the average - why must it be our people receiving lower wages?" he said.
A sector-wide wage agreement would guarantee fair remuneration to Estonian seasonal workers and also prevent foreign workers being paid unreasonably small wages, Laanemets said. Wage agreements would also help increase local seasonal workers' income in the horticultural and agricultural sectors.
"At a time when Estonia has dropped in the list of OECD digital states, the proposed amendments put brakes on Estonia's success story in IT. While in rhetoric, it is not considered problematic that the income of foreign IT workers staying here exceeds that of members of the parliament, in reality, no exceptions are made to them or the foreigners working in startups. At the same time, their families are broken up, they are made to work full time despite having small children or being engaged in studies along with other restrictions imposed on them," Laanemets said.
Laanemets added that the Social Democrats cannot support the bill.
Editor: Roberta Vaino