Estonian kindergarten teachers have collected 20,000 signatures to support their call for a minimum salary set by the state. The petition was presented to the Parliament today.
Kindergarten teachers want a similar system to schools where a minimum salary for a teacher is set by the state, which is currently 900 euros per month before tax. The state also pays local governments a certain figure each year for teachers' salaries, although municipalities may top that up.
Currently local governments themselves have to find funding for kindergarten teachers. This has led to a large wage disparity between richer and poorer municipalities.
The signatures were collected in four weeks.
"We're not happy with the situation where kindergarten teachers who do the same job and have the same qualifications, earn very different salaries, depending on where they work. Hence, the pay depends on where someone lives and works and on what the local government decides, not one the qualifications of the teacher, her work experience, contribution and quality of work," the petition reads.
Currently, kindergarten teachers in Estonia earn between 424 and 1,200 euros per month, depending on the region.
Editor: M. Oll