Education union to decide on teachers' strike on Tuesday evening

Education workers on Toompea in September 2022.
Education workers on Toompea in September 2022. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Estonian Educational Personnel Union (EHL) will decide whether or not to launch strike action after the results of ongoing salary negotiations with the coalition are made clear on Tuesday (September 26), chair Reemo Voltri said.

Discussions about raising teachers' salaries are currently taking place between Minister of Education Kristina Kallas (Eesti 200) and Minister of Finance Mart Võrklaev (Reform) as the government puts together its 2024 budget.

"On Friday we had a meeting with the Minister of Education and on Monday we had to have an additional consultation with Kallas after the Minister of Education managed to clarify some details with the Minister of Finance," Voltri told ERR on Monday.

"Accordingly, I have convened an EHL council for tomorrow evening, consisting of the chairs of all our member unions, to discuss the situation. Then we will decide what our next steps are: will we start preparing for a strike and if, in what time frame and what are our demands then they will be," he said.

Teachers have been offered a 1.7 percent salary increase, which Voltri said educators are not satisfied with.

The Estonian Educational Personnel Union (EHL) held a protest at Toompea in September 2022. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

If the minister does not come back with a higher figure, he said the union will go to the national conciliator to negotiate strike terms.

"In that case, I need to go to the national conciliator right away, because 1.7 percent is a very poor offer, which is not aimed at increasing the sustainability of Estonian education, but rather at destroying it. We cannot allow that," said Voltri.

Last week the government said it would freeze public sector salaries and only teachers would receive a small rise.

The Ministry of Education is pushing for an 8 percent increase.

The minimum wage of a full-time Estonian teacher is €1,749, the net salary is €1,400.


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Editor: Mari Peegel , Helen Wright

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