Union leader hails breakthrough in Tallink wages deadlock

Tallink's new MyStar shuttle vessel, arriving in Tallinn harbor late last year.
Tallink's new MyStar shuttle vessel, arriving in Tallinn harbor late last year. Source: Raul Mee

Chair of the Estonian Seamen's Independent Union (EMSA) Jüri Lember told ERR, that the management of shipping line Tallink now has a better understanding of its employees' concerns and that an improved offer had been made. The parties are due to meet with the national conciliator (Riiklik lepitaja) on Monday.

Estonian Seaman's Independent Union (EMSA) Chair Jüri Lember came away from a meeting involving Tallink management representatives and union leaders on Thursday, with the impression that an agreement between the parties was likely to be reached when they meet with the national conciliator on Monday,

"The employer better understood the concerns of its employees, which we have been constantly communicating to them through the union. We are now planning to present the employer's offer to the people on board during a hybrid meeting on Friday at 11a.m," said Lember.

The union leader added, that he now believes it will be possible for the parties to reach a satisfactory agreement.

However, Lember was reluctant to say how much the employer had offered. "I can state that the employer made us a slightly better offer than the national conciliator (Riiklik lepitaja) had left us with," he said, assing that he believed today's negotiations had been constuctive. "We hope that we will be able to conclude an agreement with the national conciliator on Monday and then the public will know what the wage figures are," Lember said.

According to Lember, when it comes to wage negotiations, the best approach for workers is to stay united.

"There is strength in unity. This often tends to get a bit lost in Estonian society, but it is well known among our members," he said.

Lember also reiterated, that the rise being asked for reflects the general level of inflation over the last two years, with workers having agreed to forgo a wage increase in 2021 in light of the challenging economic environment at that time.

Tallink board chair Paavo Nõgene declined to comment on the outcome of the meeting to ERR.

The EMSA, which held a strike at Tallink on January 16, had previously announced that it is asking for an average pay rise of 17.5 percent for service personnel and 22.5 percent for technical staff.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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