Project activities in Estonia
Download Estonian Pilot Project report
Download a summary of the Estonian pilot project
Download the Estonian national action plan summary
First results of the Estonian pilot project
Summary of the Estonian research activities
In the future EAKL (the Estonian Trade Union Confederation) can better plan and target its activities, especially to increase union membership and representativeness, and to promote social partnership and collective labour relations based on the analysis of the trade unions' image that was concluded at the end of 2009 as a part of the trade unions' communication audit.
From September to November 2009 Estonia's population, politicians and high level civil servants, trade union members and activists were questioned about the trade union image. In addition, the reporting of trade union activities in the media was analysed.
Despite the fact the trade unions are the best known civil society organisation among the general population, little is known about their activities. The role of trade unions in protecting employees from the arbitrary behaviour of employers was acknowledged, but better results were expected in negations over salaries. The general view of trade unions among the general public tends to be that trade unions are weak.
From the point of view of politicians and civil servants, EAKL protects the workers' interests, is constructive, flexible in negotiations, geared towards getting results and finding solutions, its positions and proposals are reasoned. The cooperation with politicians and civil servants and the exchange of information with partners was considered good, while greater initiative and a more proactive stance was expected.
87% of members think that trade unions represent the real interests of workers, 83% think that is beneficial to belong to a trade union and 80% are satisfied with the work of their branch union. Members considered as a shortcoming the trade unions' low role and influence in society and also the weakness in wage negotiations and passivity.
The most critical were the activists' assessments: valuing highly the trade unions' role in protecting the workers' real interests, the main problems are seen to be the trade unions' low influence as a social partner and the degree of cooperation with each other as well as inadequate information exchange.
The media survey showed the high activity and very substantial media coverage of EAKL but there are considerably fewer stories about the sectoral trade unions. The dominating genre is news, the trade union general image in the media is associated with struggle and protest.
On 7 December EAKL organised a press conference to introduce the results of the research to journalists and the general public.