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TITLE:  ESTONIA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                            
DATE:  JANAURY 31, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

                         ESTONIA


Estonia is a parliamentary democracy that regained its 
independence in 1991 after more than 50 years of Soviet 
occupation.  The Constitution, adopted by referendum on June 
28, 1992, established a 101-member unicameral legislature 
(State Assembly), a Prime Minister as Head of Government, and a 
President as Head of State.  Free and fair elections were held 
in 1992 for the State Assembly and the President.

Estonia maintained that all Russian and Commonwealth of 
Independent States military forces should have left the country 
by the end of 1993.  Estonia and the Russian Federation 
negotiated on this issue during 1993 but had not reached 
agreement on a timetable for the withdrawal of these troops by 
year's end.  While the official conversion of the Soviet 
militia into the Estonian police preceded the reestablishment 
of the country's independence by about 6 months, its conversion 
into a Western-type police force committed in word and deed to 
procedures and safeguards appropriate to a democratic society 
is proceeding very slowly.  Allegations of excessive use of 
police force are primarily handled administratively and, when 
brought to their attention, investigated by the Human Rights 
Institute.

Estonia is substantially transforming the centrally planned 
economy it inherited into a market-oriented system.  Small and 
medium-scale privatization is moving toward completion; 
large-scale privatization began in 1993.  The collapse of the 
trading network that existed in the Soviet Union necessitated 
finding new sources of fuel and new markets.  Approximately 
two-thirds of exports are now directed to Western markets.  
There has also been rising unemployment--a matter of concern to 
employees of state-owned enterprises and to the ethnic Russian 
community--although overall the level has remained manageable. 

The treatment of the substantial ethnic Russian community 
continued to be a major issue both domestically and in 
bilateral relations with Russia.  Parliament's passage in June 
of an Alien Registration Law, officially designating all 
noncitizens--about 500,000 mostly Russian speakers--as aliens, 
led to renewed criticism from the Russian Federation.  It again 
accused Estonia of "ethnic cleansing" and massive violations of 
the human rights of the Russian-speaking population (about 38 
percent of the total), primarily because they were not 
automatically granted Estonian citizenship.


The Council of Europe (CE) and the High Commissioner on 
National Minorities of the Conference on Security and 
Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) commented on the law, suggesting a 
number of changes.  Parliament adopted almost all of these 
proposed amendments, thereby substantially improving the 
original version.  While welcoming approval of the amendments, 
the High Commissioner noted that many difficult problems 
remained to be solved.  A local government election law, 
permitting noncitizens to vote but not to run for office (see 
Section 3), proved controversial, as did questions about the 
implementation of the law on language (see Sections 3 and 5).  
In answer to the need for increased dialog with the 
Russian-speaking community, the President organized a 
roundtable composed of representatives of the Union of Estonian 
Nationalities, political parties, and the Representative 
Assembly elected by the Russian-speaking community.  At the 
beginning of 1993, a CSCE long-term mission began operations in 
Estonia and has been carrying out successfully its mandate of 
promoting stability, dialog, and understanding between the 
communities in Estonia.

Another area of concern involved the physical and psychological 
abuse of prisoners--a set of conditions remaining from the era 
of Soviet rule that the Government has been slow to rectify.  

In May Estonia was admitted to full membership in the Council 
of Europe.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no known instances of such killing in 1993.  There 
were, however, reports of the death of persons in custody from 
the use of force by other prisoners.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no known instances of abductions or disappearances.


     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading
         Treatment or Punishment

Such practices are prohibited by law, but the harsh treatment 
of prisoners, physical and psychological abuse, overcrowding, 
and detention under extremely unhealthful conditions that were 
the rule during the Soviet period continued.  There have been 
unsubstantiated reports of excessive use of force and police 
brutality during the arrest and questioning of suspects.  The 
conditions of severe overcrowding and idleness, particularly at 
the Tallinn pretrial detention prison built in 1765, did not 
change.  A Danish Helsinki Watch report issued in early 1993 
strongly criticized prison conditions, as well as the severity 
of sentences received by young offenders.  In August 
jurisdiction over the prison system was transferred to the 
Ministry of Justice from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.  At 
the request of the Ministry of Justice, CE experts studied 
Estonian prison conditions in September in order to make 
recommendations on steps to bring them into accord with CE 
standards.

At the end of November, the Estonian police were criticized by 
several parliamentarians and the media for public endangerment 
and excessive use of force during and after the arrest of the 
leader of a voluntary paramilitary unit alleged to have 
information about a businessman missing since September.  An 
official government commission was established to investigate 
the incident.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Constitution and laws forbid arbitrary arrest, detention, 
or exile.  There were no known instances of Estonian 
authorities' engaging in such activities.  Under the 
Constitution, warrants issued by a court are required to make 
arrests.  Detainees must be informed promptly of the grounds 
for the arrest and given immediate access to legal counsel.  If 
a person cannot afford counsel, the State will provide one.  A 
person may be held for 48 hours without formally being charged; 
further detention requires a court order.  A person may be held 
in pretrial detention for 2 months; this may be extended up to 
a total of 9 months by a court order.  Police on rare occasions 
violate these limits.  Pretrial detainees account for about 20 
percent of the total prison population.


     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The Constitution establishes a three-tiered court system for 
the independent judiciary:  rural and city courts, district 
courts, and the state court.  The district and state courts are 
also courts for "constitutional supervision."  At the rural and 
city level, court decisions are based on majority rule, with a 
judge and two lay judges sitting in judgment.  The judicial 
reform law went into effect on January 1, 1993, but 
implementation was delayed until September 15 because of the 
difficulty in filling vacant judgeships.

The Constitution provides that court hearings shall be public 
but may be closed by the court for specific reasons, such as 
protection of state or business secrets or of the interests of 
juveniles.  It further provides that defendants may present 
witnesses and evidence as well as confront and cross-examine 
government witnesses.  Defendants have access to government 
evidence and enjoy a presumption of innocence.

Estonia continued to overhaul its criminal and civil procedural 
codes.  An interim criminal code that went into effect in June 
1992 basically revised the Soviet criminal code, eliminating, 
for example, political and economic crimes.  New draft codes 
were not completed before the end of 1993.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or
         Correspondence

Estonian law requires a search warrant for search and seizure 
of property.  During the investigative stage, warrants are 
issued by the procurator upon a showing of probable cause.  
Once a case has gone to court, warrants are issued by the 
court.  The Constitution guarantees secrecy of the mail, 
telegrams, telephones, and other means of communication.  
Police must obtain a court order to intercept a person's 
communications, and illegally obtained evidence is not 
admissible in court.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and press are 
generally respected, but the media are relatively restrained in 
practice.  While the press and broadcast media criticize the 
Government, they rarely single out individual officials because 
of harsh libel laws that put the burden of proof on the media.  
There is no evidence of punishment or threat of punishment for 
expressing antigovernment sentiment.

The most widely read papers are Rahva Haal, Postimees, and 
Molodyozh Estonii.  Foreign newspapers and magazines are 
readily available but are very expensive for most people.  The 
Government still provides most newsprint and printing and 
distribution facilities.  There is no indication that it used 
this control to influence the print media, although there may 
be an inherent risk of a chilling effect.  The Government is 
trying to privatize the last remaining government-owned 
papers.  There are two major national Russian-language dailies, 
Molodyozh Estonii and Estoniya, in addition to several local 
Russian-language newspapers in northeast and southeast 
Estonia.  The two major dailies receive the same indirect 
government support that major Estonian language dailies 
receive:  below-market rent on a government-owned press 
building and cheap printing through a government-controlled 
printing company.

State broadcast media continue to receive large subsidies, but 
there are several independent television and radio stations 
throughout the country.  There is one nationwide state 
television channel.  The state television company has reduced 
its funding of the retransmission of Russian-language channels 
from Moscow from three to one.  There is a state-funded Russian 
language radio channel on AM, FM, and Russian bands, as well as 
an independent Russian-language FM station in Tallinn which 
reaches an estimated 100,000 listeners.  No decision on the 
ultimate fate of the state-funded Russian channel had been made 
by year's end.

There is complete academic freedom in Estonia.  Research is 
conducted in Estonian, Russian, English, and German.  Advanced 
degree study is almost always in Estonian.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for the right to assemble freely.  
Noncitizens are prohibited by the Constitution from joining 
political parties but may form social groups.  Permits for all 
public gatherings must be obtained 3 weeks prior to the date of 
the gathering.  The authorities have wide discretion to 
prohibit such gatherings on public safety grounds but seldom 
exercise it.  Numerous mass gatherings and political rallies 
took place peacefully in 1993 without government interference.


     c.  Freedom of Religion

Freedom of conscience and of religious proselytism is provided 
for by law and honored in practice.  There were no known 
instances of discrimination based on religious belief.  There 
is no state church.

In May Parliament passed the Law on Churches and Religious 
Organizations which requires all religious organizations to 
have at least 12 members and register with the Interior 
Ministry and the Board of Religion.  Leaders of religious 
organizations must be Estonian citizens with at least 5 years' 
residence in Estonia, but this requirement has not led to any 
complaints.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The law permits free movement within the country, and it is 
honored in practice.  It also guarantees the right of foreign 
travel, emigration, and repatriation for Estonian citizens.

In July Parliament adopted an Alien Registration Law that 
defines the status of aliens.  It provides for the registration 
of aliens who came to reside in Estonia under Soviet rule and 
the phasing out of Soviet external and internal passports over 
a 2-year period.  Retired career military officers can obtain 
residence permits provided they were born prior to January 1, 
1930, or their spouses or minor children are Estonian citizens 
residing in Estonia who are in possession of a permanent 
residence permit or whose sojourn in Estonia is deemed 
necessary for the State.  The Government maintains, however, 
that applicants do not have to prove that they cannot obtain 
Russian citizenship in order to receive aliens' passports.  Six 
retired officers of the Soviet Committee for State Security 
(KGB) and the State Military Administration (GRU) reportedly 
faced deportation at the end of 1993 when their residence 
permits were not extended by a district administrator in 
Viljandi.  They were issued temporary 6-month residence permits 
on the understanding that they would depart Estonia in the 
spring of 1993.  By the end of 1993, they were still in 
Estonia, although their status continued to remain unclear.

No restrictions are placed on the right of resident aliens to 
foreign travel, emigration, or repatriation, and they face no 
difficulties in returning to Estonia after a trip abroad.  
Noncitizens, however, may have difficulty in acquiring the 
necessary documentation to travel abroad.  The Russian 
Government no longer supplies blank ordinary foreign passports 
of the former Soviet Union to enable the Estonian Government to 
issue non-Estonian citizens travel documents.  Due to their 
short supply, passports of this type are issued only to those 
departing Estonia permanently.  Ordinary Soviet foreign 
passports are valid for non-Estonian citizens to return to 
Estonia only if they  bear a stamp from the Citizenship 
Department, indicating that the holder is authorized to return 
to the Republic of Estonia until July 12, 1995, or until the 
expiration date of the residence permit.  By July 1995, all 
resident aliens must possess either passports issued by their 
country of citizenship or aliens' passports issued by the 
Estonian Government into which their residence and work permits 
will be placed.  The Government expects to issue aliens' 
passports in the first half of 1994 to noncitizens resident in 
Estonia who cannot obtain a passport from their country of 
citizenship, as well as to stateless people.

Claiming lack of resources, the Government does not accord 
refugee status or asylum, but there were no reports of any 
persons seeking asylum in Estonia.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Citizens have the right to change their government.  In 
September 1992, they elected their first post-Soviet Parliament 
in accordance with the Constitution adopted by referendum in 
June 1992.  The 101-member Parliament (Riigikogu or State 
Assembly), elected by secret ballot in multiparty elections, 
confirmed the Prime Minister, who put together a coalition 
Government based on a slim parliamentary majority.  The next 
regular parliamentary elections are scheduled for March 1995.

The Law on Local Elections, passed on May 19, permits 
noncitizens to vote in local elections but not to run for 
office.  Noncitizen officeholders were not allowed to seek 
reelection or run in local elections, although in a substantial 
number of cases the Government made arrangements for 
accelerated naturalization so that these noncitizen candidates 
could become citizens before the local elections took place, 
allowing them to run for office.

In the wake of the political controversy and tension over the 
Alien Registration Law, the city councils of Narva and Sillamae 
decided without government approval to conduct referendums on 
July 17 on whether the cities should become autonomous units 
within Estonia in which all inhabitants would enjoy equal 
rights.  About 60 percent of the local population voted, and 
almost all voted for autonomy.  The Government did not try to 
stop the referendums from taking place.  Estonia's legal 
chancellor ruled the referendums unconstitutional and without 
legal effect, and the State Court subsequently upheld these 
rulings, which local officials in Narva and Sillamae announced 
they would respect.

On October 17, new local government councils were elected in 
cities and parishes by secret ballot in multiparty elections.  
About 170,000 noncitizens registered to vote nationwide.  There 
are, however, no nationwide statistics on how many noncitizens 
actually voted, but turnout was apparently higher than among 
Estonian citizens.

The issue of citizenship continued to be a central political 
issue in 1993.  Political debate moved from who is to be 
automatically considered a citizen to naturalization 
requirements and, specifically, the requirement to know the 
Estonian language.  Parliament spelled out the content of the 
language requirement and authorized the Government to relax it 
for persons born before 1930 and those with certain 
disabilities.  The Parliament also waived the language 
requirement for any applicants among the resident aliens who 
had registered as citizenship applicants with the Estonian 
Congress in February 1990.  In March Parliament amended the law 
to apply retroactively so that citizenship is transmitted at 
birth through either citizen parent; the 1938 law only allowed 
fathers to pass on citizenship to children.

The Citizenship Law, adopted in February 1992, implemented the 
1939 Citizenship Law and also covered naturalization 
requirements, including, among other things, a 2-year residency 
requirement, to be followed by a 1-year waiting period, as well 
as knowledge of the Estonian language.  The implementation law 
provided that the 2-year residency requirement could be met by 
residency starting on March 30, 1990.  Thus, any noncitizen who 
had resided in Estonia since that date was eligible to apply 
for Estonian citizenship as of March 30, 1992.  The 1-year 
waiting period would make them eligible for naturalization on 
March 30, 1993.  The law allows the Government to waive 
requirements for applicants who are ethnic Estonians or who 
have performed valuable service to Estonia.  As of October 15, 
only 19,316 aliens had applied for and received Estonian 
citizenship.  Some observers attribute the relatively low 
number thus far to the fact that people need more time to 
decide what citizenship they wish to pursue.

It is possible that the language requirement was one reason for 
the low number of ethnic Russians applying for naturalization.  
The pamphlet outlining the language requirements for 
citizenship was initially published only in Estonian but has 
since been made available in Russian.  Furthermore, while some 
enterprises organized free language courses for employees and 
unemployment offices provided some instruction to those out of 
work, many people had to finance their own instruction, and 
some ethnic Russians cited cost as a precluding factor.  After 
an applicant has submitted his citizenship application, he must 
pass the language examination within 9 months.  The applicant 
is allowed one attempt to pass the examination; retired people 
generally are allowed two attempts.  The applicant who fails 
must reapply for citizenship, triggering the 1-year waiting 
period again.

Article 16 of the Citizenship Law Implementation Act provides 
that applications for naturalization shall not be accepted from 
"(1) foreign military personnel on active service; (2) persons 
who have been in the employment of the security and 
intelligence organizations of the Union of Soviet Socialist 
Republics; (3) persons who have been convicted of serious 
criminal offenses against persons or who have a criminal record 
of repeated convictions for felonies; and (4) persons lacking a 
legal steady income."

The Alien Registration Law, which went into effect in July, 
excludes the same categories for residency permits as does the 
Law on Citizenship for citizenship.  The Alien Registration 
Law, however, provides for a review of those excluded for 
residency permits, while those excluded from naturalization 
under the Citizenship Law have no appeal rights.

In July 1992, after they realized that noncitizens would not be 
permitted to participate in the parliamentary or presidential 
elections, a dozen moderate Russian politicians formed an 
organization to "protect the interests and rights of 
noncitizens."  On January 30, 1993, the Russian speakers' 
Representative Assembly held a congress attended by over 300 
delegates and elected a presidium.  During debate over the 
Alien Registration Law, the Government officially registered 
the Assembly on July 6.  The Assembly played an active role in 
the President's roundtable (see Section 4), and a number of its 
candidates were voted into local office in the October 17 local 
elections.

There are no legal impediments to women's participation in 
government and politics; 12 of 101 members of Parliament and 2 
of 14 government ministers are women.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

The Government does not restrict the formation or functioning 
of human rights organizations.  In response to criticism about 
the treatment of ethnic minorities, the President established a 
Human Rights Institute that convened for the first time on 
December 10, 1992.  The purpose of the Institute is to monitor 
human rights in Estonia and to provide information to the 
international community.  It investigates reports of human 
rights violations, such as allegations of police abuse.  In 
addition, because of tensions surrounding the adoption of the 
Elections Law and the Alien Registration Law in July, the 
President established a roundtable composed of representatives 
of the Union of Estonian Nationalities, political parties, and 
the Russian-speaking population's Representative Assembly.

Because of the Russian Federation's continued allegations of 
the "massive violation of the human rights" of the 
Russian-speaking population, Estonia requested the CSCE to 
establish a mission of long duration in Estonia.   The mission, 
which began operations in February, had not found a pattern of 
human rights violations or abuses by year's end.  It has been 
actively engaged in helping to alleviate political and social 
tensions.  The mission is approved on a 6-month basis and has 
already been extended once.

Numerous international and nongovernmental human rights groups 
visited Estonia in 1993.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

Discrimination on the basis of race, sex, nationality, 
religion, skin color, extraction, political or other beliefs, 
as well as economic or social status or for any other reason, 
is prohibited by the Constitution.


     Women

Women possess the same legal rights as men and are legally 
entitled to equal pay for equal work.  In practice, men and 
women tend to get equal pay for equal work, although there are 
female- and male-dominated professions.  Most women carry major 
household responsibilities in addition to their employment 
burden.  Women make up slightly over one-half of the work 
force.  There has been no organized effort by women's groups or 
others to make this an issue of public policy.

There is little public discussion of violence against women.  
Women's rights groups have not been notably active or effective 
in asserting women's rights.

     Children

Estonia has demonstrated a strong commitment to the rights and 
welfare of children.  Estonia became a party to the U.N. 
Convention on the Rights of the Child in November 1991, shortly 
after it was admitted to U.N. membership and adopted its own 
domestic child protection law, patterned on the U.N. 
Convention, in June 1992.

During 1993, the welfare of children received increased public 
attention as economic dislocation tended increasingly to 
disrupt family life.  Social welfare workers at their own 
initiative established several small safe havens for children.  
Nongovernmental child welfare societies received and 
distributed international humanitarian aid to children.  In 
addition, all children under the age of 14 receive monthly 
government support payments of about $6 (90 Estonian crowns) 
paid to the parents on behalf of children.

There is no pattern of societal child abuse.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

In July the President established a roundtable to promote 
constructive dialog among Estonia's ethnic groups and political 
parties representing them.  A cultural autonomy law for 
minority groups was adopted by the Parliament on October 26 and 
declared into law by the President on November 11.

Relationships between Estonians and the large ethnic Russian 
community remain tense.  During the years of Estonia's forcible 
incorporation into the Soviet Union, large numbers of 
non-Estonians, predominantly Russians, were brought to Estonia 
both on a permanent and temporary basis to work as laborers and 
administrators.  These people and their descendants now make up 
approximately one-third of the total population.  About 8 
percent of the population of the pre-1940 republic was Russian.

Non-Estonians, especially Russians, continued to allege job, 
salary, and housing discrimination because of Estonian-language 
requirements for certain jobs.  They are fearful that laws 
discriminating against them may be adopted.  Estonian law makes 
no distinction on citizenship or other such grounds as to who 
may enter into business or own property (other than land).  All 
residents of Estonia may participate equally in the 
privatization of state-owned housing.

Estonian-language training is accessible.  Estonian-language 
requirements of the 1989 language law for those employed in 
government offices and in the service sector went into effect 
on February 1, 1993.  The language office is authorized to 
grant extensions--and has done so liberally--to persons who can 
explain their failure to meet their requisite competence level 
in 4 years.  A separate law covering the language requirement 
for citizenship was passed in February.  It established the 
proficiency level required.  Russian representatives charge 
that the language requirement was too difficult.  The 
examination fee for either language test--for employment or 
citizenship--is 15 percent of the monthly minimum wage, 
although it is waived for the unemployed.

In districts where the language of more than one-half of the 
population is a language other than Estonian, the inhabitants 
are entitled to receive official information in that language, 
and the local government may conduct business in that 
language.  (See also Sections 2.d. and 3 for a discussion of 
laws on citizenship and aliens.)

     People with Disabilities

There are constitutional protections against discrimination of 
people with disabilities.  While there is no legal 
discrimination against disabled individuals, little has been 
done on a societal or governmental level to enable disabled 
people to participate normally in public life.  There is no 
public access law, and very little has been done voluntarily.


Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Constitution guarantees the right to form and join freely a 
union or employee association.  The Central Organization of 
Estonian Trade Unions (EAKL) came into being as a wholly 
voluntary and purely Estonian organization in 1990 to replace 
the Estonian branch of the official Soviet labor confederation, 
the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions (AUCCTU).  
Workers were given a choice as to whether or not they wanted to 
join the EAKL.  While in 1990 the AUCCTU claimed to represent 
800,000 members in Estonia, in 1992 the EAKL claimed to 
represent about 500,000 members, organized in 30 unions.  In 
1993 EAKL's membership dropped to some 330,000, organized in 27 
unions.  The EAKL explains the drop in membership by the 
breakup of large government-owned enterprises and 
privatization.  A new Public Service Workers Union was 
organized in late 1993; it has a membership of some 40,000, 
most of whom are also EAKL members.

The right to strike is legal, and unions are independent of the 
Government and political parties.  There were no strikes in 
1993.  There are constitutional and statutory prohibitions 
against retribution against strikers.  Unions may join 
federations freely and affiliate internationally.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

While Estonian workers now have the legally acquired right to 
bargain collectively, collective bargaining is still in its 
infancy.  The Government remains by far the biggest employer, 
with about 70 percent of the work force.  According to EAKL 
leaders, the distinction between management and labor is not 
widely understood, and few collective bargaining agreements 
have been concluded between the management and workers of a 
specific enterprise.  The EAKL has, however, concluded 
framework agreements with producer associations which it hopes 
will provide the basis for specific labor agreements.  The EAKL 
was also involved with developing Estonia's new Labor Code 
covering employment contracts, vacation, and occupational 
safety.  The Labor Code prohibits antiunion discrimination, and 
employees have the right to go to court to enforce their 
rights.  In 1993 a collective bargaining law, a collective 
dispute resolution law, and a shop steward law were adopted.

No export processing zones have been established.


     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced or compulsory labor is prohibited by the Constitution 
and is not known to occur.  It is effectively enforced by the 
Labor Inspections Office.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

According to labor law, the statutory minimum age for 
employment is 16.  Minors aged 13 to 15 may work with written 
permission of a parent or guardian and the local labor 
inspector, if working is not dangerous to the minor's health, 
considered immoral, or interferes with studies, and provided 
that the type of work is included on a list the Government has 
prepared.  State authorities effectively enforce minimum age 
laws through inspections.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

The Government, after consultations with the EAKL and the 
Central Producers Union, sets the minimum wage and reviews it 
monthly.  In late 1993, the minimum wage was $23 (300 Estonian 
crowns) per month.  The minimum wage is not sufficient to 
provide a worker and family a decent standard of living.  It 
has not been increased since October 1992.  About 3 percent of 
the work force receive the minimum wage.  The average wage is 
about three times the minimum.

Under a law adopted by Parliament at the end of the year, the 
standard workweek was reduced to 40 hours.  There is a 
mandatory 24-hour rest period in the workweek.

According to EAKL sources, legal occupational health and safety 
standards are satisfactory, but they are extremely difficult to 
achieve in practice.  They are supposed to be enforced by the 
Labor Inspections Office, the effectiveness of whuch may 
improve with experience.

The overriding concern of workers during the period of 
transition to a market economy is to hold on to their jobs and 
receive adequate pay.  Workers have the right to remove 
themselves from dangerous work situations without jeopardy to 
continued employment.


[end of document]

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