Finance minister would freeze state employees' salary fund

Mart Võrklaev (Reform).
Mart Võrklaev (Reform). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev (Reform) supports the proposal of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry to cut back public spending by reducing the number of officials and freezing the public sector salary fund.

"I agree that the trend should be toward reducing (jobs – ed.) and, as I've said, proposals to freeze the salary fund are the most effective way," Võrklaev said when asked to analyze the chamber's proposal of laying off 10 percent of officials during two consecutive years.

The minister said that freezing the salary fund could motivate ministries and agencies to analyze their activities and find ways of cutting costs.

He pointed out that the salary of teachers climbed 28 percent and those of internal security workers by 26 percent in 2023, which Võrklaev described as "very big figures."

Asked whether freezing the salary fund clash with existing collective agreements, the finance minister said: "Talking about medical workers, we must consider collective agreements of course /.../ But the other fields... I don't think we have collective agreements in education, internal security."

"According to a preliminary Chamber of Commerce estimate, at least 11,000 people are employed in the aforementioned and concerned public sector organizations," Toomas Luman, president of the chamber wrote. "Thus, if you were to reduce the number of employees in these organizations by 10 percent in 2024 and 2025, then the number of employees would be reduced by at least 1,100 in the first year and at least 1,000 in the following year."


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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