Estonia: Teachers to go on open-ended strike for higher pay

The Estonian Education Personnel Union (EHL) has called an open-ended general strike of education workers for 22 January 2024, ERR reports. Around 2,800 teachers in Tallinn will participate in the strike and another 500 in a sympathy strike. Meanwhile, teachers in Tartu will not take part in the general strike as they have signed a new collective agreement with the local government. Instead, they will join a sympathy strike, as will kindergartens and vocational schools across Estonia. EHL demands that teachers be paid a minimum salary of EUR 1,950. The union would settle for EUR 1,835 if the government agreed to enter into immediate talks on a new collective agreement for 2025-2027, however. Currently, the minimum wage of full-time teachers is EUR 1,749. Education Minister Kristina Kallas proposed raising teacher wages to EUR 1,803 in 2024. However, the ruling coalition failed to approve the proposal. The government has agreed to raise teacher wages to 120% of the national average wage by 2027. Estonia has 505 general education schools employing nearly 17,000 teachers. Most of the schools are run by municipalities.