Estonia ranked as free in workers’ rights report

On August 31, 2010, Freedom House released The Global State of Workers’ Rights: Free Labor in a Hostile World, an assessment of trade union and worker freedoms in 165 countries. According to the findings of this first-of-its-kind report, one-third of the global population lives in societies in which workers’ rights suffer a significant degree of repression. The report found substantial problems in every region of the world except Western Europe, with the most serious abuses occurring in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union.

Estonia was one of the 41 countries ranked as “Free”, the highest ranking. It is among the eight Central and Eastern European countries to receive this ranking—the other are Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Source: http://freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=383&report=92

Average gross salary was 888 euros in June

According to Statistics Estonia, in the 2nd quarter of 2010, the average monthly gross wages and salaries were 12,869 kroons (822 euros) and the hourly gross wages and salaries were 75.81 kroons (4.85 euros). Compared to the 2nd quarter of the previous year, the average monthly gross wages and salaries were by 1.2% higher and the average hourly gross wages and salaries were by 1.7% lower.

The average monthly gross wages and salaries that had been in falling trend for five quarters in succession compared to the same quarter of the previous year increased in the 2nd quarter. The increase in the gross wages and salaries was also influenced by the decrease in the number of persons on holiday without pay. The hourly gross wages and salaries were influenced by the fact that compared to the 2nd quarter of the previous year, this year there was one working day more and the average number of hours worked per employee was bigger.

The real wages which took into account the influence of the change in the consumer price index decreased for the seventh quarter in succession, but the decrease has slowed down. In the 2nd quarter of 2010 the real wages decreased by 1.9%.

As at the end of June, the number of employees was 7.3% smaller than in 2009 at the same time.

Compared to the 2nd quarter of 2009, the average monthly gross wages and salaries increased the most in mining and quarrying (19.4%) and decreased the most in real estate activities (17.5%). The big increase in mining and quarrying was caused by the significant increase of payments to employees paid irregularly (bonuses) in the 2nd quarter of 2010 compared to the same period of the previous year.

Compared to the 2nd quarter of 2009, the average hourly gross wages and salaries increased the most in agriculture, forestry and fishing (9.3%) and decreased the most in real estate activities (18.2%).

The average gross wages and salaries were 12,343 kroons (789 euros) in April, 12,381 kroons (791 euros) in May and 13,891 kroons (888 euros) in June.

In the 2nd quarter of 2010, the employer’s average monthly labour costs per employee were 17,341 kroons (1,114 euros) and the average hourly labour costs were 117.26 kroons (7.49 euros). Compared to the 2nd quarter of 2009, the average monthly labour costs per employee increased 0.8% and the average hourly labour costs decreased 2.7%.

Compared to the 2nd quarter of 2009, the average monthly labour costs per employee increased the most in mining and quarrying (18.2%), and decreased the most in real estate activities (16.5%).

Compared to the 2nd quarter of 2009, the average hourly labour costs increased the most in electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply (6.8%) and decreased the most in real estate activities (17.8%).

Statistics Estonia conducts the survey of wages and salaries statistics on the basis of international methodology since 1992. In 2010, the sample includes 11,685 enterprises, institutions and organisations. The average monthly gross wages and salaries have been given in full time units to enable a comparison of different wages and salaries, irrespective of the length of working time. Calculations of the monthly gross wages and salaries are based on payments for actually worked time and remuneration for time not worked. The hourly gross wages and salaries do not include remuneration for time not worked (holiday leave pay, benefits, etc.). In short term statistics, the average gross wages and salaries are measured as a component of labour costs. Labour costs include gross wages and salaries, employer’s contributions and employer’s imputed social contributions to employees.

Average monthly gross wages and salaries,
1st quarter 2006– 2nd quarter 2010 (kroons)
  Year 1st Q 2nd Q 3rd Q 4th Q
2006 9 407 8 591 9 531 9 068 10 212
2007 11 336 10 322 11 549 10 899 12 270
2008 12 912 12 337 13 306 12 512 13 117
2009 12 264 12 147 12 716 11 770 12 259
2010   11 865 12 869    

Average monthly gross wages and salaries and monthly labour costs per employee,
2nd quarter 2010

Diagram: Average monthly gross wages and salaries and monthly labour costs per employee, 2nd quarter 2010

Average hourly gross wages and salaries and hourly labour costs, 2nd quarter 2010

Diagram:  Average hourly gross wages and salaries and hourly labour costs, 2nd quarter 2010

Source: Statistics Estonia

Manufacturing of electronic products increased three times

According to Statistics Estonia, in July 2010 the production of industrial enterprises grew 25% compared to July of the previous year.

The moderate growth reported at the beginning of 2010 was followed by a rapid increase — in April enterprises gave 19%, in May 17% and in and June 21% more production than in the corresponding months of 2009.

The production of manufacturing increased 23% compared to July of the previous year. In July, export sales of the manufacturing production increased significantly (38%). In July, nearly two thirds of the whole production of manufacturing was sold on the external market. The demand on the domestic market was still low and the domestic sales were equal compared to July of the previous year.

In July, production exceeded the previous year’s level in most branches of industry. The growth in the production of manufacturing was most influenced by the branches holding bigger shares — manufacturing of electronic products where the production increased by more than three times, and manufacturing of wood where the growth was 38%. With respect to the branches of manufacturing holding smaller shares, the production increased considerably in the manufacturing of motor vehicles, machinery and equipment, metals and pharmaceuticals, mainly due to the increase in exports. The rapid growth in production was partly also influenced by the low reference base in 2009; this effect will last until the end of 2010. The production of refined petroleum products, metal products, and the production in the repair and installation of machinery and equipment decreased.

In July 2010 compared to June, the seasonally adjusted industrial production increased 5%, the production of manufacturing also grew 5%.

In July 2010 compared to July 2009, the production of electricity increased 72% and the production of heat decreased 8%. The increase in energy production was mainly caused by a growing demand for energy induced by more active manufacturing as well as by the growth in the exports of electricity.

The volume index and trend of production in manufacturing, January 2000 – July 2010 (2005 = 100)

Diagram: The volume index and trend of production in manufacturing, January 2000 – July 2010 (2005 = 100)

Read more from Statistics Estonia

In some economic activities the sales have grown

According to Statistics Estonia, in July 2010 compared to July of the previous year the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises decreased 1% at constant prices. The decrease of the retail sales in July was the smallest of the current year.

In January the retail sales of goods decreased 13% compared to the same month a year ago, in February 11%, in March 10%, in April 9%, in May 4% and in June 6%.

In July, the retail sales of goods of retail trade enterprises were almost 5 billion kroons (318 million euros). The decrease in retail sales of goods was most influenced by the stores selling manufactured goods, where the retail sales decreased by 5% compared to July 2009. The decrease in retail sales in these stores has started to stabilize and in some economic activities the sales have grown. The retail sales of goods increased in the retail sales in non-specialized stores with industrial goods predominating (12%), the retail sales of second-hand goods in stores (5%), the retail sales in stores selling textiles, clothing, footwear and leather goods (4%) and the retail sales of pharmaceutical goods and cosmetics (3%).

In July, the retail sales recovered remarkably in the grocery stores, where the downward trend was replaced by the upward trend and the retail sales increased 1% compared to July 2009. The sales growth in these stores was influenced by extraordinarily hot weather in July that caused a leap in sales of food and beverages of the summer season.

Compared to the previous month, the retail sales in retail trade enterprises increased by 2% at constant prices. According to the seasonally and working-day adjusted data the retail sales increased by 1%. In grocery stores the retail sales of goods increased 2% compared to the previous month but in stores selling manufactured goods the retail sales decreased 3%.

In July the revenues from sales of retail trade enterprises were 6.1 billion kroons (392 million euros), out of which the retail sales of goods accounted for 81%. Compared to July of the previous year, the revenues from sales increased 5% at current prices. Compared to the previous month, this indicator increased 2%.

Retail sales volume index of retail trade enterprises and its trend, January 2002 – July 2010 (2005 =100)

Diagram: Retail sales volume index of retail trade enterprises and its trend, January 2002 – July 2010 (2005 =100)

Source: Statistics Estonia

Hundreds of bonfires to be lit for night of ancient bonfires

For the second year in a row Estonia will be taking part in the Night of Ancient Bonfires initiative, during which people are invited to light a bonfire or a candle on the coast of the Baltic Sea on the night of the last Saturday of August.
The goal is to cover the coastline with bonfires in such way that from each place at least two other fires can be seen, spokespeople for the Rannarahva Koda (Chamber of Coastal Folk) nonprofit organisation told BNS. Organisers have called for the fires to be lit at 9:30 p.m. Estonian time.
Last year, when Estonia for the first time joined the tradition that got its start in Finland in 1992, hundreds of bonfires were lit along the country’s coastline.
As of 2 p.m. on Saturday, 223 bonfires and 12 310 participants had been registered on the event’s Estonian website. A map on the website shows the coastlines of Harju County, which includes the capital Tallinn, and of Pärnu County in southwestern Estonia as getting the greatest number of fires. Fires are also to be lit on lakesides in places situated as far from the sea as Kallaste, Põlva, Elva and Otepää.
A post on the website says that on the isle of Keri, which has no trees and to where transportation of firewood is complicated, a group of people will illuminate the local lighthouse, the oldest in the Gulf of Finland, with flashlights during the whole night.
The Night of Ancient Bonfires was originally an initiative to mark the 75th independence anniversary of Finland in 1992. In the years after that it lived on, especially in the archipelago of southwestern Finland, as a local and communal farewell to summer. By now the tradition has spread to all countries situated on the Baltic Sea and its goal is to show the unity of coastal people and pay tribute to history and cultural heritage.
In ancient times bonfires along the Baltic coast were lit to warn of dangers. The earliest written reports of conveying messages by means of bonfires date from the time of the Vikings, when a united system of warning extended from the sea to the inland. Each community was under obligation to make its contribution to the system by lighting and keeping a bonfire, and strict punishment was applied for not fulfilling the duty.

Source: Estonian Review

This year’s GDP growth forecast is 2.0 pct

The Estonian Finance Ministry in its fresh estimate released on Wednesday forecasts the country’s economy to grow 2.0 percent this year on comparison with 2009.
In its forecast published in spring the ministry estimated the annual GDP growth rate to be one percent in 2010.
In 2011, the ministry expects the country’s economy to grow 3.6 percent.
The consumer price index is estimated to grow 2.6 percent this year and 2.5 percent in 2011, according to the fresh estimate.
The unemployment rate this year is seen to reach 17.5 percent, 2 percent higher than previously speculated.
Thanks to improved tax intake and revenue from the sale of emission quotas, the budgetary deficit of Estonia is expected to improve to 1.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year. Last year’s deficit was 1.7 percent.
In 2011 the deficit will expand to 1.6 percent and in 2012 to 2.3 percent of GDP. The budgetary position is expected to reach balance in 2014, according to the new estimate.

Source: Estonian Review

Fair pricing campaign launched

An advertising campaign was launched in Estonian media on Monday, 23 August, inviting all traders, service providers and producers to subscribe to the Fair Pricing Agreement and to avoid unjustified price increases after changeover to the euro.
 
“All legal persons and even local governments are welcome to subscribe to the agreement. Every subscriber makes a commitment that they will not increase their prices without justification after changeover to the euro,” said Tea Varrak, Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance.
“As the fear of price increase is one of the main fears associated with the changeover to the euro among Estonian people, such public commitment of the entrepreneurs and their subsequent behaviour will hopefully convince people that the introduction of the euro will not lead to an increase in prices,” Varrak added. 
 
According to Siim Raie, Director General of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who is responsible for coordinating the subscription, preventing an increase in the rate of inflation and raising the level of confidence among consumers will be in the interests of entrepreneurs themselves.
 
Traders, service providers and producers who have subscribed to the agreement can be recognised by the fair pricing logo “euro hinda ei tõsta” (euro does not raise the price). More information on the conditions of the agreement and an application for subscription are available at euro.eesti.ee and ahk.eesti.ee. Applications can be submitted from 25 August. All subscribers to the agreement will receive respective stickers, which they can display at their points of sale or service provision. In addition, a style guide is available for download, providing information on further options on how to demonstrate the status of a subscriber to the agreement.
 
The advertising campaign is visible on outdoor adverts, on the Internet and in newspapers. Radio clips inviting people to subscribe to the agreement have been recorded as well. The fair pricing campaign will be promoted in both Estonian- and Russian-language media. The campaign period lasts from 23 August to 26 September.
Source: Estonian Ministry of Finance
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.