Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets (SDE) said on the morning show "Teravisioon" that there are number of ways to resolve the impasse about teacher pay. "It would be very strange if the government were to break up over teachers' compensation," the leader of SDE said.
The cabinet met for hours on Thursday to address the teacher compensation issue, but no agreement was reached.
"This is handy rhetoric – to say that there is no money and that there will be tax increases – but I wonder what will happen if, in a few years' time, teachers will leave their jobs en masse," Läänemets said about the Reform Party's prime minister and finance minister's resolute stance on the issue on ETV's "Terevision" program Friday morning.
"If you don't want it, you never have the money," he said.
Läänemets said that pay rises for teachers and other public sector workers have always been the result of political agreements. "Only once has this been included in the national budget strategy."
"Good education is a prerequisite for economic growth," he went on to say. "And teachers' salaries are not a cost but an investment – we should not scribble over our own prosperity."
"It seems to me that the prime minister and the finance minister want to open up the budgetary strategy. Let's talk about the spending side then," Läänemets said.
When asked where the funds for the pledged teacher pay increase could be found, Läänemets detailed several options, including ending the limited liability company status.
"But as a social democrat, I also see the implementation of a progressive income tax as a potential solution," he said. "There are options."
"It would be very strange if the government were to break up over teachers' compensation," the leader of SDE said.
Editor: Marko Tooming, Kristina Kersa