Enefit Power, a subsidiary of Eesti Energia that operates in the field of electricity production from non-renewable sources in Ida-Viru County, anticipates difficult pay negotiations due to both rapid inflation and the removal of Soviet monuments in the region.
The energy market requires additional oil shale for a variety of reasons. Enefit Power employs about 1,800 individuals in Ida-Viru County to extract and refine this natural resource — an increase of 500 since the start of the year.
The company seeks to hire another couple of hundred employees this year, "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.
Eesti Energia CEO Hando Sutter, said that inflation has created wage pressure for the company.
"Our company's wages have already climbed this year and are projected to increase further. That's because we have a lot of work, which allows us to earn good wages. However, on the relation of inflation and wages: one of the components of the price of electricity is our wage cost, so if we were to aggressively hike wages, this would have a further inflationary effect," Sutter said.
Union representatives said that in addition to rising prices, salary negotiations would also need to account for regional sensitivities surrounding the removal of Soviet monuments.
"Unavoidably this will have an effect on wage negotiations, since we cannot ignore people's emotions and, unfortunately, things have not always gone smoothly. We try to keep politics and work apart in the workplace, i.e. to make sure that only work matters in the workplace," Marina Lukyanova, the chair of the trade union of miners and energy workers (Kaevurite ja Energeetikute Sõltumatu Ametiühing or KESA), said.
Peep Peterson, Estonia's minister of health and labor, assessed the collective agreement bargaining climate at Enefit Power on Monday.
"I have come to show my solidarity with the workers and to assure them that we have not forgotten them, but I would also like to point out that there has always been development here, which we can and must support because Narva is an Estonian city and the safety of its residents is crucial," Peterson said.
Enefit Power will initiate negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in the fall.
Editor: Kristina Kersa