2 – Repeated violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Estonia

The ITUC affiliate in Estonia is the Confederation of Estonian Trade Unions (EAKL).

In practice

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TS Laevad bypasses collective bargaining30-06-2018

The Independent Seamens’ Union of Estonia (EMSA) reported that in June 2018, during negotiations of the collective agreement, Mart Loik, member of the TS Laevad management board, organised a meeting with workers and proposed to conclude a collective agreement directly with them, bypassing EMSA. He offered the same benefits that the union demanded and that the management had so far refused to agree on in the collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
negotiations.
The EMSA immediately asked for a public apology from TS Laevad, alleging the company made false salary level statements of its EMSA employees and implied that the EMSA made unreasonable requests, and “was interested only in its own members”. One EMSA demand is indeed a pay raise of €0.50 to €5 per hour, which is still two euros lower than the pay in other shipping companies with which the EMSA has collective agreements. According to EMSA, TS Laevad management also engaged in unethical behaviour in offering sweeteners to employees in order to induce them not to sign any collective agreement.
The union is considering taking Port of Tallinn (Tallinna Sadam) subsidiary TS Laevad to court, claiming misrepresentation, and prolonging its dispute with the company on collective agreement, though it says strikes are not inevitable.

Transiidikeskuse AS refuses to reinstate a shop steward30-10-2017

In October 2015, Transiidikeskuse AS, a stevedoring company, terminated the contract of a worker right after he was elected as shop steward shop steward A union worker who represents the members of a union in dealings with the employer. Often elected by union members who work in the same establishment. . The case was brought to the court which ruled on 29 June 2016 that the termination was wrongful. On the same day however his job was made redundant. On 30 October 2017, the court again declared that the grounds for his dismissal were not valid and therefore his termination was wrongful. The company did not reinstate him. Instead, the management barred him from entering the company’s premises while still paying him his wages. An application has been filed with the Labour Inspectorate to resolve the matter which was still pending at the time of writing. Transiidikeskuse AS still refuses to recognise the legally established trade union and rejects all attempts at negotiating a collective agreement.

Anti-union activities30-11-2009

The Confederation of Estonian Trade Unions (EAKL) reports that anti-union behaviour is rife in the private sector. In some enterprises, workers are advised against forming trade unions, threatened with dismissal or a reduction in wages, or promised benefits if they do not join unions. “Yellow unions” are sometimes formed.

Collective bargaining difficult30-04-2009

It is estimated that between 20 and 25% of the workforce is covered by collective agreements. Both public and private employers tend to be reluctant to engage in collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
and delay the process. The economic crisis made negotiations difficult, and even profitable companies demanded concessions or failed to honour agreements. For example, in May, shipping company Tallink stopped paying wage supplements provided for in the collective agreement, and only asked the trade union for new negotiations afterwards.

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