Pärnu bus drivers protest Sebe wage levels
Around fifty bus drivers picketed Pärnu bus station Wednesday, over dissatisfaction with the current wage level offered by county line Sebe, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported.
Üllar Kallas, chair of the main transport trade union in Estonia, the Transpordi ametiühing, said that bus drivers with other companies were expressing their solidarity with those employed by Sebe, given the overall low wage the sector currently provides.
"This is predominantly a demonstration of the bus drivers of the Pärnu city line, because we have not been able to agree on the salary," Kallas told AK.
"We want to demonstrate that a bus driver is also a human being, and in this difficult economic situation at the moment, he or she also needs an increase in their wage. Bus drivers from other organizations have also congregated here, to show their support. All the bus drivers are very supportive of one another," he went on.
The average gross wage of a bus driver in Pärnu city is €1,280 per month, Kallas said.
One of the demonstrators, Anželika Pärgma, said: "In many companies, men get paid more than women for carrying out the same task, but we are all equal here."
"The salary could be higher for this kind of work, however. One could get at least €1,400, for sure. I like my job, which is why I'm a bus driver. But the salary really ought to be higher," she continued.
Collective agreement negotiations on raising wages have been ongoing since October, and agreement has been reached regarding the county's bus drivers as of now, AK reported.
Sebe operates bus routes in Pärnu City, Pärnu County and in Harju County. It is part of the Mootor Grupp, which also owns long-distance bus line Lux Express.
The average gross monthly wage in Estonia was reported at €1,679, as of last November.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera