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No developments at Rakvere plant since strike began last month

A support picket in Rakvere.
A support picket in Rakvere. Source: Rene Kundla/ERR

The open-ended strike of the slaughter line employees of HKScan Estonia's Rakvere Meat Processing Plant began one month ago on Wednesday. Union and plant representatives are claiming, however, that no progress has been made in negotiations since the strike began.

A couple dozen Rakvere Meat Processing Plant slaughter line employees continue to strike in demand of a 32-percent raise, reported ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera."

The employer, meanwhile, will not agree to meet the pay demands of a small portion of the plant's employees, particularly as the entire business' wage system is currently under review.

According to HKScan Estonia CEO Anne Mere, the company is not currently prepared to inform the strikers what their wages would be under the new wage system.

"It is too early to say, because we are actually currently in the final so-called phase," Mere explained. "We have assessed all of the company's positions; this work was just completed. Now we will compare these positions' previous conditions to the new conditions, and it should be clear by the beginning of April which positions will see raises. This work is still underway."

According to the union, the productivity of the slaughter house has taken a blow during the ongoing strike.

"The 80 animals they process during a shift... they take an entire shift and even go into overtime," said union representative Andrus Saaremägi. "But we would do this as skilled workers, and in two hours at that."

The employer, however, claimed that this was not true.

"We are working according to our schedule of orders, and deliveries to our customers are guaranteed," said Mere. "So I don't know what these stories are about."

Rakvere's striking employees are not being left totally without income, as each striker is being given €30 per day from the union's strike fund.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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