TALLINN - Estonia has been chronically underfunding its social affairs for the past 30 years, resulting in a need for consistent heightened attention to the field, according to state and municipal employees' union association ROTAL.
"Social affairs have been underfunded by the state since Estonia gained its independence. Only now has the state begun realizing it and finding more money for the field. Better late than never," chairman of ROTAL Kalle Liivamagi said.
ROTAL together with its Norwegian partners and the Association of Estonian Cities and Rural Municipalities are holding a conference on Monday and Tuesday to conclude its project on better working conditions through social dialogue in the public sector. The conference will be attended by employers and social affairs workers from the cities of Paide and Parnu and rural municipalities of Poltsamaa and Saaremaa.
Representatives of the four local governments participating in the project, funded by Innovation Norway, largely said that a social dialogue should be developed in every structure, and that collective agreement negotiations should be launched to improve working conditions and increase salaries.
On the first day of the conference, participants will get an overview of social dialogues and contracts in Estonia and Norway. Various presenters will also address different aspects of long-term care provision.
The second day of the conference will begin with overviews by two social workers who will speak about increases in their workload during the pandemic and energy support measures as well as during their work with refugees from Ukraine. The second part of the day will see summarized the association's 1.5-year project on improving public sector working conditions.