On 2 January, Minister of Culture Indrek Saar and Ago Tuuling, the Chairman of the Management Board of the Confederation of Estonian Employees' Unions (TALO), signed the salary agreement for cultural workers for 2018. The agreement calls for increasing the gross minimum wage of cultural workers to €1,150 a month as of this year.
The gross minimum wage of cultural workers with a higher education, or those working in positions that require a higher education, rose over the thousand-euro limit for the first time to €1,150. This means a raise of 22% in the minimum wage. The wage policies related to cultural workers is determined by the base document Fundamentals of Cultural Policy until 2020, which calls for the income level of full-time cultural workers to be increased to equal the average wage in Estonia by 2020.
According to Minister of Culture Indrek Saar, the robust wage increase confirms that the government values Estonian cultural workers. “During the last three years, we have been able to raise the minimum wage by €419, and continuing at the same pace, we will be able to achieve the minimum wage goal for cultural workers by the agreed upon time. Our common interest is to maintain continuity and ensure new generations of specialists in the future, and this robust wage increase helps to ensure this,” said Saar.
A 7.5% increase will also be made in the wage fund for those people working in the cultural field that are support personnel or cultural workers with a higher education whose incomes already exceed the gross minimum wage level.
The agreed upon wage increase affects cultural workers receiving salaries from the state budget. These include workers being paid by the state, as well as those who work at 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.
Ago Tuuling, the chairman of the TALO management board, added that the state salary agreement sends an important message to the entire cultural field. “The agreement applies only to cultural workers receiving state salaries, but all cultural workers help to maintain continuity. Therefore, the agreed upon remuneration principles should be recommended for all institutions operating in the cultural field regardless of who they are subordinated to or who they are owned by,” said Tuuling.
· The text of the wage agreement (PDF) and a photo of the signing (with Indrek Saar and Ago Tuuling) is attached to the press release.
· The base document related to cultural policy referred to in the press release establishes the goals for the salaries of cultural workers until 2020, but this time-related goal does not apply to the wage subsidies of coaches. However, the wages of higher category coaches are moving at the same pace as those of cultural workers and, at the beginning of this year, the wage fund for coaches with a category 5 or higher qualification rose by 35.2%, which was even higher than for cultural workers.