Labor and employers each deliver manifestoes

  • 2010-09-01
  • From wire reports

Harri Taliga calls for state action on worker training.

TALLINN - The leader of the Confederation of Trade Unions, Harri Taliga, stated that with their new manifesto, employers want to change the principles of social security in Estonia, reports National Broadcasting. Employers proposed to establish a maximum level of social tax, imposing the limit to three statistical average monthly wages.

Taliga, however, says that the only objective of the maximum social tax rate is to decrease the employers’ tax burden. “This will by no means improve employment rates nor bring high-paid jobs to Estonia,” he asserted. “These will only emerge where more added value is created. And if the added value is created, the new jobs will appear anyway,” he said.
The trade unions’ leader emphasized that the generally recognized position is that in promoting employment rates, low-paid people’s tax burden should be lowered first and foremost. Taliga said that the positions articulated in the employers’ manifesto were “brutal,” with the objective to significantly decrease the level of social security. “The most significant fact is, naturally, that employers do not want to pay for anything. The state has to lower taxes and increase investments into businesses and to re-training unemployed persons,” he noted. “Where will the money come from if the taxes are decreased or there are no taxes whatsoever?” asked Taliga.

On Aug. 30, the Confederation of Employers presented its manifesto for 2011-2015 in which the organization defined its principal objectives for the period. Among other things, the manifesto proposes to abolish the opportunity for employees to organize solidarity strikes, as the Confederation of Employers is of the opinion that these are not directed at influencing the decisions within the competence of particular employers.

The employers also want to raise the national old-age pension age in the next four years, from the current level of 63 years to at least the age of 67. According to the law adopted in Riigikogu in April, by 2026, Estonia will raise the pension age to 65.
The chairman of the organization, Tarmo Kriis, stated that the manifesto keeps in mind balanced development in Estonia and does not merely reflect the interests of employers. “By participating in a social dialogue along with the state authorities and the trade unions and by formulating policies through this process, employers are partly responsible for the entire country,” he explained.

According to Kriis, the manifesto refers to the most critical problems and proposes possible solutions to them. “These are a cluster of economic policy measures, providing ideas to improve the problematic areas while it does not aspire to come up with comprehensive solutions,” he noted.

The previous document “Employers’ Manifesto 2007-2011” was published by the confederation in January 2007, before the elections of the current composition of Riigikogu. The Estonian Confederation of Employers represents the interests of 1,500 Estonian employers.