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Estonia  Estonia

Key Facts

Population1,339,662
Collective Bargaining Coverage 33%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 10%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

company

Workplace Representation

union – but since 2007 employee representatives can be elected as well

Board-level Representation

no

Company Board Structure

dualistic

Sources: see individual country sections; where a range of figures has been quoted, the lower number has been taken

Trade Unions

Union density is low in Estonia at around 10%. It fell sharply in the 1990s, but it now seems more stable. Most union members are organised in two major confederations, one, EAKL, primarily manual the other, TALO, primarily non-manual.

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Collective Bargaining

Around a third of employees are covered by collective bargaining in Estonia and by far the most important level for collective bargaining is the company or organisation, with unions negotiating with individual employers. However, the minimum wage is set after negotiations between the union confederations and the employers at national level.

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Workplace Representation

Employee representation at the workplace is primarily through unions, or does not take place at all. However, legislation, which came into effect in 2007, allows for the election of employee representatives both where there is a union and where there is not. If there is no union these representatives can be involved in collective bargaining.

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Board-level Representation

There is no legal provision for employee representatives to participate at board level in Estonia.

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European-level Representation

Estonian members of European bodies linked with European Works Councils and the European Company are normally elected by the general meeting of employees. The arrangements are slightly different when there are several Estonian companies involved.

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Health and Safety Representation

Employee representation on health and safety is provided through separately elected representatives, who in smaller companies act individually and in larger companies are part of a joint employer/employee committee. These representatives have the power to halt work if there is a direct threat to employees’ safety.

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Financial Participation

Employee financial participation in Estonia is present mainly in the form of employee ownership and the activities of cooperatives. The importance of employee ownership has been in decline since the beginning of the 1990s, when for a short time employee ownership played an important role in the privatization process. Profit-sharing schemes are now relatively widespread (above the European average).

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