Teachers' pay negotiations postponed, November strike still possible

Education workers on Toompea.
Education workers on Toompea. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Negotiations between the Estonian Education Personnel Union (EHL), the education ministry, the national conciliator, and local authorities on teachers' pay, which were due to take place on Thursday, were postponed because local authorities were unable to elect representatives by that day.

Liina Põld, the undersecretary of general education and youth policy at the ministry, said that according to the law, local authorities are obliged to participate in the negotiations on the minimum rate of teachers' salaries, i.e., the school owners are responsible for agreeing on and later implementing teachers' salaries.

"On October 24, the Ministry sent a letter to the municipalities asking them to send an authorized representative to the negotiations. As the mandate also requires a decision by the council, municipalities have to submit their delegates by November 8. The negotiations will resume then on November 10," Põld said.

The Estonian Education Personnel Union (EHL) disagrees with a too small pay increase next year and has asked the national mediator to discuss possible solutions, including a general strike.

Teachers are willing to call off the strike if the minimum teacher salary is increased by 8 percent next year, or less if a specific salary increase is definitively agreed for subsequent years. Negotiations with the national mediator are ongoing between education officials, the education minister, and local authorities. The earliest teachers could strike would be the penultimate week of November.

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Editor: Mari Peegel, Kristina Kersa

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