Unions turn to national conciliator after minimum wage negotiations fail

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) annual congress in Tallinn. Oct. 11, 2019.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) annual congress in Tallinn. Oct. 11, 2019. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Representatives from the Employers Union and the Estonian Trade Union Confederation (EAKL) failed to agreed the minimum wage for 2020 and agreed to the national conciliator on Wednesday.

Earlier this month the trade union and employers' negotiating delegations agreed if they had not concluded negotiations by Oct. 23 then they would ask for help from the national conciliator.

In August it was agreed that the minimum wage would be €578 in 2020, but the unions would not give their final approval. On Wednesday, employers were ready for a slightly larger offer, but unions did not agree.

For years, trade unions have been pushing for a minimum wage of at least 40 percent of the average wage, which would require an agreement of approximately €600.

At the beginning of October, EAKL trade union chairman Peep Peterson confirmed to ETV's Aktuaalne kaamera that the trade unions want 40 percent of Eesti Pank's average salary, which will be approximately €590.

Minimum wage is currently €540 euros and the minimum hourly rate is €3.21. The average wage in August was approximately €1,400.

Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik said the minimum wage should be agreed by the time the state budget is adopted or by the end of the year.

"We need to know a concrete number since the minimum wage affects many different grants and price lists for local municipalities," he said. "And, of course, employers and employees need to know when concluding work contracts."

So far the budget has taken into account that the minimum wage will increase by 7 percent next year.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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