The strike of workers of Narva Power Stations is getting more realistic every day because the talks that the trade union and employers held at the beginning of this year failed.
Vladimir Aleksejev, chairman of the trade union of Narva Energia, said that the negotiations over a collective agreement have stalled and that the key issue of dispute between the employer and employees was wages.
The two parties have signed a protocol of disagreements and are now planning a meeting with the public conciliator.
Tõnu Aas, CEO of Narva Power Stations that employs more than 700 people, says that the company cannot meet the pay demand of trade unions to increase wages 32%.
“Trade unions are not only demanding a 20% rise in basic wages, but also a 12% rise in performance-based pay, so the total pay raise would be 32%,” said Aas, adding that the best that the company can do is 6.2%.
“Also during the recession when many other enterprises were cutting their salaries, the wages paid to our workers remains unchanged,” he added. Average income of workers in Narva Power Stations is about 1,400 euros a month which is notably higher than the region’s average of 700 euros.
Parts: pay demands must be realistic
Commenting the pay dispute between the trade unions and Narva Power Stations, Minister of Economic Affairs Juhan Parts says that pay demands must always be realistic. Everybody wants to be paid more for the same work, but one must also consider the actual situation on the labour market, regardless of the job,” said Parts.
“In our economy, wages can be increased in line with the growth of productivity. In the energy sector that is undergoing major structural changes, such figures are unrealistic,” said the minister, adding that it is now time to let steam off the emotions and seek a practical agreement. Parts said that if there was a strike, it would not disrupt power supply in Estonia as there are other external supplies although these would be more expensive for the state.