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Narva Power Plant Workers Prepare for Strike

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The Narva Energia Union set a 25 percent pay rise goal for its workers and says it will go on strike if the demand is not met by April 1.

Workers' salaries at the national power company Eesti Energia's two power plants in the northeastern town of Narva have not increased since 2008. According to the unions, the average monthly pay at the Narva plants is currently just above 1,000 euros.

"In a situation where Eesti Energia makes huge profits, the unions believe that some of these should trickle down to the workers too," chairman of the union, Vladimir Aleksejev, told ERR radio. "At the time when the country went through a crisis, no crisis was seen in energy production. Demand for electricity grew, productivity increased by 60 percent [...] and the corporation raked in huge profits," he said.

The indignation of the union was triggered by a claim published in Postimees by Markus Kaasik, Eesti Energia's chief of finances, that despite good business results the company had no intention of raising workers' salaries.

Aleksejev said the strike would not leave domestic consumers lacking, but would paralyze electricity exports. "I suppose the market price of electricity will go up," he warned.

Eesti Energia was unwilling to comment on the strike threat, saying that salary negotiations are still going on. Thus far, the other union, representing the workers of the neighboring Balti Power Plant in Narva, has withheld its support to the 25 percent demand.

Vladislav Ponjatovski, chairman of the Balti plant's union, said the negotiations must first be brought to some kind of conclusion. In his opinion, a 10 percent salary increase would be fair enough, Ponjatovski told ERR radio.

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