Union: Teachers' warning strike passed off with support of society

The warning strike at Kiili High School, Harju County.
The warning strike at Kiili High School, Harju County. Source: Ken Mürk // ERR

According to Janno Isat, head of information at the Estonian Education Personnel Union (EHL), it appears that Friday's warning strike passed off peacefully and with the support of society. However, the union is not overly optimistic about Friday's pay talks.

Half an hour after the end of the warning strike in Estonian schools, the Estonian Education Personnel Union (EHL) did not yet have a full picture of the institutions that opted to participate. However, the union was able to provide figures for Tallinn. 133 institutions, including 82 kindergartens and 51 schools in the capital took part in the one-hour warning strike.

Isat said that teachers had received plenty of messages of support from other professional unions on Friday. Parents have also backed the warning strike and written e-mails of support to the union.

"The educators' message got through and the warning strike was a success. Even though, the Ministry of Education tried to discredit the strike in the meantime, our strike was perfectly legal," Isat said.

On Friday at 2 p.m., EHL representatives are set to meet with leaders of the Association of Estonian Cities and Municipalities (AECM), the Ministry of Education and the public conciliator in Tartu to discuss the salary negotiations. According to Isat, the educational workers do not have high hopes for the meeting, but are reluctant to make any predictions on the possible outcome.

"We are waiting. The developments this week have been unpredictable. Previously, we thought we were going to be on the same page as the education minister for the salary negotiations," said Isat.

If the negotiations do not lead to an offer of salary increases for teachers, the EHL will be able to say on Friday whether or not a strike is on the cards.

However, calling and then preparing for a strike, would take some time. "We also need to clarify the legal side, regarding when we can strike. This particular legal nuance is not clear yet," Isat said.

The outcome of the salary negotiations, will also need to be announced by the public conciliator.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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