Minister of Culture Indrek Saar and Chairman of the Board of Estonian Employees’ Unions’ Confederation (TALO) Ago Tuuling signed the agreement of intent on wages of cultural workers on 21. December. The agreement stipulates that minimum monthly gross wage of cultural workers will increase to 942 euros from year 2017.
Wage policy of cultural workers is based on “The general principles of cultural policy until 2020”. According to the principles, the income of cultural workers with higher education working full time should reach Estonian average salary level by year 2020. Minimum monthly wage of cultural workers with higher education shall increase to 942 euros in year 2017, meaning increase of 13,5% already for the second year.
Minister of Culture Indrek Saar recalled that only a year ago the minimum salary of cultural workers was 731 euros. Thus the gap with the Estonian average was more that 300 euros and this gap would have increased without major change. As a result of the agreement signed today the minimum wage of cultural workers will be 942 euros from next year. “With likewise boost of the minimum wage we will catch the forecasted average salary by year 2020. In addition the current coalition agreement provides additional money, which allows increasing salary also for those cultural workers with higher education, receiving wages from the state, whose salary is already higher than the minimum wage,” told Saar.
Chairman of the Board of TALO Ago Tuuling added that while the negotiations were tense and expectations within the cultural field considerable, the agreement can be deemed satisfactory. “Common interest of cultural field is growth of sustainability and specialists. Decent salary is one of the instruments for ensuring this. With the current increase of minimum wage we can expect that the objective of cultural policy for year 2020 will be accomplished. It is important that in the future the principles of wage agreement should keep in mind also those cultural workers, who are not directly affected by the current agreement due to administrative authority,” said Tuuling.
The increase of wage fund concerns cultural workers receiving salary from the state budget. These are employees working for state and public agencies, foundations and county libraries, receiving salary from the state. This is related to cultural workers with higher education, with higher professional qualification or with specific specialist knowledge, equivalent to higher education requirements.
However, agreed remuneration principles are recommended to all institutions acting in cultural field, regardless of their administrative or ownership relations.