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Estonian report Estonian report
by Euro Reporter
2012-03-16 07:33:31
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Estonia backs collective-agreement changes after union protests

Estonia approved legal changes to make it easier for employers to terminate collective agreements even after trade unions objected. Lawmakers voted 53-40 to back amendments stopping such agreements from running indefinitely, which the Justice Chancellor has ruled unconstitutional. Unions had sought to keep the main terms of contracts that had been terminated valid for a transition period, Harri Taliga, chairman of the Confederation of Estonian Trade Unions, said last month in an interview.

“The unions’ protest against the changes is natural because employers will gain a significant advantage for future negotiations: the option to threaten the unilateral annulment of earlier-agreed conditions,” Eiki Nestor, a lawmaker with the opposition Social Democrats, said before the vote. “When workers’ rights are curbed, strikes will result.”

Estonia endured its biggest industrial action since regaining independence in 1991 last week, when blue-collar workers supported a three-day nationwide strike by teachers over wages. More than 1,000 workers staged a rally in the centre of the capital, Tallinn, on Feb. 18 to protest the collective- agreement amendments.


Estonia tops Euro-zone inflation list yet again

The 4.4 percent year-on-year inflation rate Estonia saw in February was the highest among Eurozone members; the second month in a row the country has topped the list. According to the latest Eurostat figures, only Slovakia came close last month with 4 percent, while the lowest inflation rates in the Eurozone were registered in Greece at 1.7 percent and Spain at 1.9 percent. Updated figures for Ireland, which had 1.3 percent inflation in January, were not given.

Estonia's result puts it well above the Eurozone average of 2.7 percent, but is unsurprising given the fact that it had the highest Eurozone inflation in 2011. Among the 27 EU member states, Estonia's February inflation rate tied with Poland's as the second highest, coming in behind Hungary's 5.8 percent price rise. Sweden had the lowest inflation, just 1.0 percent.


15% of Estonian exporters are non-resident companies

According to Statistics Estonia, there were 11,919 exporters in Estonia last year, of whom 15 % were non-resident companies. Non-resident companies are companies that do not have a registered address in Estonia and there were 1,757 such companies last year.

For instance, in 2004, non-resident owned enterprises made up only 3% of Estonia’s exporters. By 2010 this percentage had increased to 14. According to experts, the figures show that the Estonia remains attractive for foreign companies as a production base.

Also the number of non-resident companies among exporters had increased. While in 2004 there were 214 such enterprises, the figure had increased eight times, to 1,757 enterprises, by 2011 and 18% from 2010.   In general, the number of all exporting enterprises increased 11% last year which shows that the role of foreign-owned exporters in the Estonian economy is increasing. Last year, a total of 15,816 enterprises were importing goods to Estonia. Among them, foreign-owned enterprises accounted for 2% and totalled 283 enterprises

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