Estonia : ETUCE and EFEE brings together Estonian social partners to strengthen social dialogue


On 1 June 2016, ETUCE and EFEE, in the framework of their joint project on social dialogue capacity building, gathered around the table Estonian education social partners. ETUCE’s member organization, EEPU,  discussed the need to develop and strengthen social dialogue with representatives from the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research, Ms Maie Kitsing, the Association of municipalities of Estonia, Mr Ott Kasuri, the Head Vocational Education Department, Ms Helen Pollo, and the Deputy Head of adult education Department, Ms Kulli All.

Participants used the opportunity to assess the present state of the Estonian social dialogue situation related to education issues. Ms Maie Kitsing, representative from the Ministry of Education and Research underlined the respectable legal basis that have been reached between Estonian social partners in order to implement and strengthen  national social dialogue in education. Mr Reemo Voltri, President of the Estonian Teacher Trade Union, EEPU, positively admitted the enhancement of the situation by being regularly consulted within decision policy process through working groups and committees, however he pointed out some issues such as the administrative reform or vocational education that should be handled jointly in order to improve Estonian quality of education system. All along the round table the debate touched upon many current challenges to education in Estonia such as teachers working conditions, teachers wages,  the lack of attractiveness of the teaching profession, municipalities governances issues, as well as the low rate of unionizations of teachers.

This round table was also the possibility to give them a broader picture of social dialogue at European level. The  detailed presentations provided a better understanding about the cross-sectoral social dialogue at the European level such as the development of European social policy, the new ESSDE work programme objectives and achievements or even more, the need to strengthen dialogues between social dialogue delegates.

With the last presentation, Nina Lahtinen from the Finnish Education Trade Union, OAJ, shared through a video, the Finnish  experience and their practices regarding social dialogue in education at national level and also exposed  advantages they have, to be involved in the ESSDE. Thus, Estonian social partners became aware of the benefits shared experiences with other European members organisations, could bring at national level including new perspectives in debates and new practices to handle challenges.

The meeting underlined the necessity for Estonian social partners to continue this dialogue on regular basis and to discuss of joint concern. ETUCE and EFEE expressed their great satisfaction over the lively and constructive debate and their hope for strengthened and greater Estonian involvement in the European social dialogue (ESSDE).