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More than 1,200 teachers joined union during strike

Teachers protesting on Toompea Hill in Tallinn on day one of Estonia's nationwide teachers' strike on Monday. January 22, 2024.
Teachers protesting on Toompea Hill in Tallinn on day one of Estonia's nationwide teachers' strike on Monday. January 22, 2024.

Over the course of last week's strike, 1,214 teachers joined the Estonian Education Personnel Union (EHL), the largest educators' union in the country. The EHL also paid compensation to strikers.

"Membership growth was 19.8 percent. We started with more than 6,100 members, and now have more than 7,300," said EHL information manager Janno Isat.

The union has said it will pay compensation to new members if they meet the required conditions.

Isat said the EHL also agreed to pay kindergarten workers who participated in the strike for at least three days from its unemployment fund. They will receive 50 percent of the daily rate of a kindergarten teacher's wages which is €37 gross per day.

General education teachers who were paid by their employers for up to five days to strike will receive €42 gross for each subsequent day they took part.

The calculation base comes from the minimum salary of general education teachers which is €1,820.

Compensation for employees of early childhood education institutions is 90 percent of the minimum salary of teachers in general education schools, which amounts to €1,638.

"The allowance is paid based on the principle of solidarity – the amount of the allowance is fixed for each level of education, i.e. the worker's contractual earnings are not taken into account," said Isat.

There are 22,000 high school, elementary school, and preschool teachers, data from Statistics Estonia shows.

The EHL started an open-ended strike over pay rises on January 22 which ended on January 30.

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Editor: Mari Peegel, Helen Wright

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