Rescue board salaries lag behind rest of public sector ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Rescuers training at a disaster excercise in Tartu
Rescuers training at a disaster excercise in Tartu Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The union of Estonia’s rescue professionals confirmed on Tuesday that salaries elsewhere in the public sector were continuing to grow faster, and that this was a problem for all of the country’s rescue services.

The Rescue Board’s average gross salary in 2016 was €850 a month, or some €691.52 net, which amounted to just 75 percent of the average salary across all of the public and defense sectors, the union stated.

For difficult and dangerous work, and in an environment where after years of cuts there were more and more unmanned positions to fill, the widening pay gap meant a motivational problem. The salary offered simply didn’t motivate people to choose this kind of job, which in the long term would result in the declining quality and range of rescue services.

In the assessment of the union, investment in the Rescue Board’s human resources is necessary for the development and optimization of Estonia’s rescue services.

“High approval numbers show trust, that people understand and appreciate the rescuers’ contribution to the security of the population. The rescues in turn appreciate this trust very highly, and would like to live up to it in the future as well, but this may not happen much longer if the long-time underfinancing and the negative effects of salaries that are not competitive continue the same way,” the union said.

The union expressed hope that the government and the Riigikogu would show understanding, and find the necessary means to keep the Rescue Board sustainable and its services at a high level.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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