Rescue workers held a protest outside Stenbocki Maja (Stenbock House) at Toompea, Tallinn on Thursday as the government gathered at a cabinet session to discuss the state budget.
The picket, organized by Eesti Päästeala Töötajate Ametiühing (EPTAÜ) (The Estonian Rescue Workers Union), wanted to make ministers aware of rescue workers low salaries, which they say is making it difficult to recruit more workers and is putting the safety of the public at risk.
Although rescue workers did receive a pay rise this year they say it was cancelled out by the rapid increase of the average salary.
"Today we are again in a position where it is extremely difficult to fill vacant positions due to low salaries, which, in combination with the budget cuts by the Rescue Board, has a negative impact on the safety of the population," the union said.
The average salary of rescuers is €1000 this year, in 2018 the average salary of a rescuer was €808. The Rescue Board wants a pay increase to the level of the average salary in 2020. This would be somewhere between €1300 and €1400 euros.
Editor: Helen Wright