Trade unions are currently seeking a suitable time to meet with employers in order to launch new minimum wage negotiations, Estonian Trade Union Confederation (EAKL) chairman Peep Peterson said on Friday.
The board of the EAKL is planning to discuss the current situation on Sept. 24 as well.
"We are consulting with a public conciliator in the background," Peterson told BNS. "Thus far, it is too soon to say whether and with what we will agree."
Delegations from the EAKL and the ETTK reached an agreement in early September to increase the minimum wage by €38 per month in 2020. According to the agreed upon plan, the minimum wage would have risen to €578 per month, or €3.44 per hour, as of Jan. 1.
The EAKL council, however, considered this insufficient, and proposed to the ETTK that they continue negotiations. Trade unions are now seeking possible solutions for continuing talks and reaching an agreement on the minimum wage for the coming year.
ETTK managing director Arto Aas said that the EAKL giving up the already agreed upon 7 percent increase in the minimum wage from 2020 was regrettable.
Government not getting involved
Aas noted that the situation was also discussed by the council of the ETTK, which decided to hear the trade unions' new arguments. He added that reaching an agreement is not urgent, as there is still plenty of time for negotiations and, if needed, they can enlist the help of a public conciliator.
"The minimum wage is agreed by social partners — the ETTK and the EAKL," Aas said. "As far as I know, members of the government coalition are not interested in getting involved in this decision. It is important to note, however, that a number of public sector expenses are pegged to the minimum wage."
The current monthly gross minimum wage for full-time employment in Estonia is €540; the minimum hourly wage is €3.21.
Editor: Aili Vahtla