Representatives of the main first responders' union are meeting Wednesday to discuss an impending budget cut and to prepare an appeal to the government.
A press release stated that: "Politicians have not heeded the warnings of the rescuers, and the risks have started to materialize."
The Rescue Board's (Päästeamet) union will meet with representatives of the rescue region, and the organizations' demands will be drawn up accordingly.
Rescue workers' average wage is falling rapidly behind the national average, meaning: "It is becoming more and more difficult to fill vacant positions, as the offered salary does not motivate to choose the profession of a rescuer, the teams become smaller, the workload of the remaining ones increases," the board said.
"In order to enable the family to cope normally, most rescuers are forced to work at several jobs at a time, which has a negative effect on mental and physical health. Of all the priorities listed by the government in its salary increase groups, rescue workers are in the worst position without a doubt," the union stated.
The government's planned budget cuts in the 2023 state budget, currently at cabinet level and due to go to the Riigikogu at the end of the month, may lead to layoffs and closures of rescue teams, which will worsen rescue capabilities and increase the time it takes for help to arrive, the union went on.
Editor: Andrew Whyte