The Estonian Education Personnel Union (EHL) said that since the government is dragging its feet on wage negotiations and, unlike teachers, has not offered any concrete plan to implement the agreement, a warning strike of teachers will take place across Estonia on November 10.
Reemo Voltri, chair of the Estonian Education Personnel Union (EHL) and the strike movement leader, said that wage negotiations have so far been rather one-sided, as there has been no sign of the government's involvement.
"The fact that teachers are forced to work double time due to the shortage of teachers has been used as evidence that teacher salary is not low. This is deliberately misleading and deeply unethical. It is the same as suggesting that if you don't have enough money to buy food for your family, you can work double shifts," Voltri said.
A representative of the teachers' union explained that educators have presented the government with a variety of strategies for fulfilling the coalition agreement and the pledges made to the electorate during the campaign.
"We are well aware of the situation of the national budget, but it is a matter of priorities. We urge the government to make a long-term strategy, and we have provided ideas on how to reach an agreement on teacher wages for 2024-2027," he said.
The strike will occur in kindergartens from 8 to 9 a.m. and in schools from 9 to 10 a.m. To ensure the safety and well-being of pupils, it is advised that all educational institutions resume operations following to the conclusion of the warning strike.
"In addition to trade union members, all teachers in Estonia's primary, vocational, and secondary schools, as well as kindergartens, have the right to take part in the strike. This is the moment when we stand shoulder to shoulder from Hiiumaa to Põlvamaa. We are not striking against anyone, but rather for everyone concerned about the future of education in Estonia," he said.
Voltri said the teachers' warning strike would inconvenience several hundred thousand people and force them to change their daily plans.
"In some ways, however, it is a preview of things to come, because if the government allows the teacher pay crisis to continue, disruptions in the education system due to teacher shortages will soon become commonplace," Voltri added.
The Estonian Education Personnel Union (EHL) is the largest trade union and representative organization of teachers and other educational staff in Estonia. It represents teachers in negotiations with the government on pay.
Editor: Kristina Kersa