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Many bus and truck drivers not being paid minimum wage says union

Tallinn city buses. Image is illustrative.
Tallinn city buses. Image is illustrative. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Estonian Transport and Road Workers' Trade Union said that many domestic truck and bus companies are still not paying their drivers the mandatory minimum salary that is in force.

The trade union is reminding market participants that, in addition to the national minimum wage, employers are required to adhere to the sector-based minimum wage set by an extended collective agreement, as agreed by the employers' association or union and the workers' association or union. The extended collective agreement applies to all market participants, regardless of whether they are members of an employers or workers' association.

There are two extended collective agreements currently in effect in the Estonian transport sector, one regarding domestic cargo carriage and the other regarding bus transport. In domestic cargo carriage, the extended collective agreement sets the minimum monthly salary of drivers at €950 from May 1, 2019, which is to rise to €1,000 in 2020 and €1,100 per month in 2021.

Chairman of the trade union, Ullar Kallas, said all employees who have not been guaranteed the minimum salary, have the right to file a claim to demand the underpaid remuneration for up to three years in retrospect. "The Transport and Road Workers' Trade Union is encouraging all employees to submit a claim for underpaid salary and will help members of the trade union for free in submitting the claim," Kallas added.

"The state also has a very important role to play in ensuring that a level playing field is guaranteed on the market and that dishonest companies do not gain a competitive advantage. In addition to the deceived workers, the state also loses a great deal of salary taxes from these companies," Kallas said.

In spring 2019, the Labor Inspectorate informed 1,406 companies with a total of 4,208 employees that domestic cargo carriage drivers must be paid at least the minimum salary in force. As a result of informing the companies, the salaries of 39 percent of employees changed.

The Labor Inspectorate in fall of this year informed 131 companies that, according to the Tax Board, these companies have not guaranteed full-time bus drivers the minimum salary of €945 originating from the extended sector-based collective agreement.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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