Employees of Finnish food group HKScan's Rakvere Meat Processing Plant decided to announce a holiday truce in the wage dispute with the management and to continue with talks on the matter in January.
"They decided to call off today's meeting, where the next steps would have been agreed on, and to announce a Christmas truce and continue in the new year," Estonian Trade Union Confederation (EAKL) chairman Peep Peterson told BNS on Monday.
Talks between the management of HKScan and the union did not result in an agreement last week, and public conciliator Meelis Virkebau announced that the reconciliation process had ended.
Following a meeting with two parties last Thursday, Virkebau said that both sides' wishes are too different and thus it was not possible to reach a compromise.
Although the reconciliation process has ended, talks may continue without him in the future. Virkebau added, however, that the reconciliation process ending meant that, as of last Friday, the employer can consider a lockout and employees can consider a strike.
HKScan said that regardless of the results of talks, the company is to update and adjust the company's entire wage system in the first quarter of 2018.
Dispute two months old
The labor dispute at Rakvere Meat Processing Plant began on Oct. 17, when 27 slaughterhouse employees staged an illegal strike, resulting in the dismissal of three employees. The employees said they were protesting against poor working conditions as well as the stagnation of wages, which have not been raised for the past ten years.
The workers then referred the dispute to the public conciliator.
Editor: Aili Vahtla