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Estonia Unions Plan Strikes, Protests Over Collective Deals

Estonian trade unions will hold a series of strikes and protests over government plans to make it easier for employers to terminate collective agreements.

The Confederation of Estonian Trade Unions will stage a protest tomorrow in the capital, Tallinn, before nationwide demonstrations and strikes begin March 5, Chairman Harri Taliga said today by phone. The action will peak with a strike of teachers and daycare workers, starting March 7, which may be supported by other unions, according to Taliga.

Draft legislation that’s cleared the first of three parliamentary readings would stop collective agreements from running indefinitely, which the Justice Chancellor has ruled unconstitutional, according to an explanatory letter on the legislature’s website. That would allow employers to abandon such deals more easily, harming workers’ rights, Taliga said.

Protests “will be further spurred” after the government announced this week that it plans to scrap a commitment to pay unemployment benefits of 40 percent of a worker’s last salary to employees who leave their jobs voluntarily or by agreement with their employer, Taliga said.

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