Workers laid off in spring from Tootsi briquette factory say they are not interested in returning to work as their unemployment fund benefits continue to run. The mayor of the municipality in Pärnu County says he is mystified by their attitude.
Tootsi municipality says it has done everything in its power to help the laid off workers - it tried to attract new employers and introduced bus routes to neighboring municipalities. But many of the laid off workers are still unemployed.
"Only a few of them have found work, as the companies that have pledged to come here have not come but above all we have received assistance from enterprises in the region in putting people to work," said municipality elder Kalev Kaljuste on ERR radio.
One of the companies in the region, Säästke OÜ, has hired 20 Tootsi people. The other is the Wendre AS production outlet in Vändra, where all of the women workers could have been re-employed - except they did not accept the offer.
Kaljuste said many are not interested in returning to work. At Wendre, he said, "we held an open house and their personnel director and manufacturing director were there. And we talked about the possibility of them getting a job and wage conditions. It's a company that is very competitive and honest both at the Estonian and Pärnu level."
Only four of the women invited went to work. The rest - over ten of them - reportedly draw benefits and say that is better.
Kaljuste says the insurance will run out eventually and such an attitude is illusory.
He said a few other companies are setting up shop in Tootsi, but they are not large employers and their wages are not likely to be as high.