Yesterday, December 9th, Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas and Ago Tuuling, the Chairman of the Management Board of the Confederation of Estonian Employees' Unions (TALO) signed the salary agreement for cultural workers. The agreement calls for increasing the wage fund for people working at Ministry of Culture institutions by 2.5%.
The distribution of the wage fund depends on the decisions of the governmental institutions and the planned increase in the wage fund applies to all the employees of these institutions.
“The expectations of the cultural workers being paid from the Ministry of Culture budget have justifiably increased over the years – even among those workers whose salary exceed the minimum wage. We leave the final decisions to the institutions and their leaders because we trust them,” explained Minister of Culture Tõnis Lukas. “For the people working in this field, today’s agreement definitely signals the importance of their work and contribution to the development of the Estonian language and culture, and this is the tenet that ensures the survival of our country,” Lukas added.
The national wage agreement applies to all cultural workers receiving a salary from the Ministry of Culture budget, but is also recommended for all cultural institutions regardless of their administrative jurisdiction or form of ownership. In 2020, the minimum salary for cultural workers receiving a salary from the Ministry of Culture budget is €1,300. The national minimum wage also forms the basis for determining the artist and writer salaries.
“Our negotiations continue to be based on the source document “Culture 2020”, according to which, the minimum wage of cultural workers should at least equal the projected average gross earnings. This time the negotiations were somewhat more complicated, because the elections resulted in the reassessment of several objectives and the level of next year's agreement will be slightly lower than requested. Despite this, we appreciate the willingness and ability of the Ministry of Culture to achieve a fairly optimal result,” said Ago Tuuling, Chairman of the Management Board of the Confederation of Estonian Employees' Unions (TALO).
The agreed upon wage agreement covers those receiving a salary from state institutions, public institutions, foundations and county libraries. The cultural workers that are covered include those with higher educations, higher vocational qualifications or specific specialised knowledge equivalent to the higher education requirement, of whom there are almost 4,000. The same amount of additional funds will be added to the wage fund for coaches. And the total amount is €2.3 million.
In 2020, the planned total expenditure for the culture budget will be €254 million.
In addition to the wage increase for cultural workers, the Ministry of Culture’s most important objectives include providing additional funding for Estonian language learning, continued investments in national cultural institutions, and support for sport during the upcoming Olympic year.
In addition, 2020 will be celebrated as the Year of Digital Culture under the leadership of the Ministry of Culture.