Estonian parlt trade union support group, minister discuss protection of employees' rights

  • 2020-02-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – The trade unions support group of the Riigikogu at a meeting with Estonian Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik discussed the standardization of the right to strike and the better protection of trustees.

Other topics discussed included organization of work and rest time and possible state incentives for trade union membership. Issues related to healthcare professionals and nursing homes, as well as specific challenges in the chemical industry and the maritime sector were addressed separately.

"A prerequisite for achieving a good and effective work environment and creating real new value is that workers' rights are protected," Oudekki Loone, head of the trade unions support group, said. "This means that employees' trustees must also be guaranteed protection against dismissal and have sufficient free time to interact with employees. And, of course, the constitutional right to strike must be more substantive in order to allow both solidarity strikes and, for example, demands for a better Employment Contracts Act. One hundred years ago, it was written in Estonia's first Constitution that 'the organization of economic life in Estonia must be in accordance with the principles of justice, the purpose of which is to ensure the maintenance of human dignity through relevant laws'. This principle should also be upheld today, and it is an important task for the state to ensure that every job guarantees a decent life for the one doing the job," she added.

Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik emphasized the importance of cooperation between trade unions, employers and the state. "The Riigikogu trade unions support group makes an important contribution to enhancing mutual exchange of information and engagement. This will definitely help to increase the role of trade unions in the protection of workers' welfare and rights. The long-term decisions concerning the labor market and labor organization must always take into account the arguments and positions of the workers' representative organizations," Kiik said.

Helmen Kutt, a member of the trade unions support group, said she is glad that, under the leadership of Kiik, topics related to trade unions are also reaching the government. "The trade unions support group is a cross-party representation aimed at supporting the trade union movement and protecting the interests of Estonian workers in legislative work," Kutt added.