Minister of Culture Indrek Saar and Ago Tuuling, Chairman of the Management Board of the Confederation of Estonian Employees' Unions (TALO), signed the state wage agreement for workers in the cultural field for 2019. Based on the agreement the minimum gross salary for cultural workers will increase to €1300 per month starting in the new year.
The salary agreement affects the almost 4,000 workers in the cultural workers who are paid from the Ministry of Culture budget. In addition to the minimum wage, the salary fund for those cultural workers whose salaries already exceed the minimum or who work at jobs that provide support services will also increase by 7%.
‘Culture is the primary and most important idea behind the existence of the Estonian state, and the government values our cultural workers. A significant wage increase will help to ensure the sustainability of national culture and an increase in the number of specialists who can help to develop both high culture and folk culture,’ said Minister of Culture Indrek Saar.
During the past year, the gross minimum wage for cultural workers has been €1,150. In 2015, it was only €731, which means that the minimum wage has increased by 78% in the intervening years.
‘In culture, a continuity that is sustained by all the cultural worker is important. Today, I again state that the principles of the state wage agreement should apply to everyone, be it local government or private cultural organisers,’ said Ago Tuuling, board chairman of TALO.
The wage policies related to cultural workers is determined by the base document called Fundamentals of Cultural Policy until 2020 or Culture 2020. The document calls for the income level of full-time cultural workers to be increased to equal the average wage in Estonia by 2020.
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.