The trade unions representing miners and energy workers that are at risk of redundancy due to the current oil shale energy crisis are planning to organize a picket before the joint ministry building in Tallinn on Aug. 28, regional paper Põhjarannik reported.
Andrei Zaitsev, head of the Narva Energy Trade Union, said that a meeting will be held in the building housing both the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications on the same day to discuss the future of oil shale energy.
According to Zaitsev, the plan is to bring some 50 people to the picket. Zaitsev said that this is only the first step: "If we don't get the results we want, our protests will gradually get bigger," he said.
Zaitsev added that employees of mines and power plants are first and foremost seeking clarity regarding their future. "Better a horrible end than endless horror. This uncertainty that has lasted for several months now if and whose jobs will remain is the worst," he said, adding that the mood of employees is getting worse every passing day.
That the process of temporarily laying off people has already started at power plants. The step means a significant loss of income to those employees affected. "Those who have somewhere to go are leaving work themselves," Zaitsev said.
Both Zaitsev and Marina Lukjanova, chairman of the Miners' and Energy Workers' Independent Trade Union, have been invited to the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications next week. "We don't know right now what they want to say. Unfortunately there haven't been any positive messages from the government within the last month," Lukjanova said.
State-owned energy group Eesti Energia laid off a total of 315 employees in the first half of 2019. Eesti Energia CEO Hando Sutter said last week that whether and how many more will be made redundant will be determined by the end of August, once new market analyses and a new production analysis have been drawn up.
The government has confirmed that it is looking for ways to prevent large-scale layoffs of miners and energy workers. However, no substantive decisions to this effect have been made public yet.
Editor: Dario Cavegn