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Estonian Employers Agree to Raise Minimum Wage 10% in 2013

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Estonian employers accepted a demand by labor unions to raise the minimum monthly wage by 10 percent starting in January.

The minimum gross wage will increase to 320 euros ($424) from 290 euros, according to an e-mailed statement today from the Estonian Employers’ Confederation.

Unions demanded the wage increase last month, citing tax avoidance and a widening income gap between the rich and the poor. Wages may rise too fast and trigger an upsurge in prices because of a shortage of workers that’s “become an increasingly important limiting factor for production,” the central bank said last week.

Wages in the newest euro-area member may grow 5.6 percent this year and 5.8 percent in 2013, while productivity per worker will probably advance 0.4 percent and 2.5 percent, according to the central bank.

Unemployment declined to a 3 1/2-year low of 9.7 percent in the third quarter, down from a record 19.8 percent in the first quarter of 2010. Still, economic growth will slow this year to 2.9 percent from the European Union’s fastest pace of 8.3 percent last year as Nordic export demand stalls, according to the central bank.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ott Ummelas in Tallinn at oummelas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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