At Wednesday's sitting, the Riigikogu approved with 62 votes in favour (5 against) the Act on Amendments to the Collective Labour Dispute Resolution Act (52 SE), initiated by the Government. The Act extends the term for giving advance notice of a sympathy strike from three working days to five working days, changes the process of electing the Public Conciliator to office and regulates the substitution of the Public Conciliator during his or her temporary absence by the Deputy Public Conciliator-Adviser.
According to the Act, the term for giving advance notice of a sympathy strike is extended from three working days to five working days. According to the judgement of the Supreme Court that entered into force on 5 July 2015, the three-day term for giving advance notice of a sympathy strike, which is provided in the Collective Labour Dispute Resolution Act, is in conflict with the Constitution insofar as such a short term for giving advance notice unreasonably restricts the freedom of enterprise.
The Act changes the process of the election and appointment to office of the Public Conciliator. Similarly to the current procedure, the employers’ and trade union confederations will have to agree on a candidate for the Public Conciliator. As a new requirement, it is provided that an agreement must be reached not later than three months before the termination of the term of office of the Public Conciliator who is in office. In the case the confederations fail to reach an agreement in time, the Ministry of Social Affairs will organise a public competition to find a candidate for the Public Conciliator. If the public competition fails, the the minister responsible for the field will nominate a candidate for the Public Conciliator to the Government. In connection with the unregulated situation where the Public Conciliator is temporarily unable to perform the duties of his or her office, the institution of the Deputy Public Conciliator-Adviser will be established for conducting the conciliation procedure. For expediency reasons, the institution of local conciliator will be eliminated.
The requirements for the Public Conciliator as well as the provisions concerning the termination of the term of office of the Public Conciliator and the Office of the Public Conciliator will also be included in the Act. The Act also specifies the definition of the office of the Public Conciliator. The term of office of the Public Conciliator will be extended from three to five years.
One Bill passed the first reading in the Riigikogu:
The Bill on Amendments to the Persons Repressed by Occupying Powers Act and the Public Transport Act (61 SE), initiated by the Government. It will establish, as of 2016, the benefit for repressed persons, replacing the benefit for restoration of health and the fare concession. The amount of the benefit will be 192 euro per calendar year and submission of expense receipts will not be required for application for the benefit.
Under the current procedure, 50 per cent of the price of a transport ticket paid by a repressed person is compensated to him or her, but not more than 32 euro per calendar year. Besides the fare concession, repressed persons and persons treated as repressed persons have the right to a benefit for restoration of health in the amount of 160 euro per calendar year which is paid once a year without submission of expense receipts. About 11 300 persons will begin to receive the benefit for repressed persons.
A Bill and a draft Resolution were dropped from the proceedings at the first reading:
At Tuesday’s sitting, the Riigikogu had begun the deliberation of the Bill on Amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia for Changing the Procedure for the Election of the President of the Republic (18 SE), initiated by members of the Estonian Centre Party Faction, which provided for direct elections of the President of the Republic.
Jüri Adams, Mart Helme, Priit Toobal and Andres Anvelt took the floor on behalf of factions during the debate. In the debate, Helme and Toobal supported the direct elections of the President of the Republic and Anvelt was against, calling to strengthen parliamentary democracy. Adams explained the development of Estonia into a parliamentary republic in the beginning of the 1990s.
The result of voting: 53 members of the Riigikogu in favour, 33 against and two abstentions.
The Draft Resolution of the Riigikogu “On Immigration” (53 OE), submitted by the Estonian Conservative People’s Party faction, that provided that the Government should submit all issues concerning the refugee problem to the Riigikogu for discussion and decision.
Representative of the lead committee, Chairman of the Constitutional Committee Kalle Laanet said that, already today, the Government receives parliament’s mandate on the issues concerning the refugee problem in the European Union Affairs Committee. “Today’s system is sufficient for giving a mandate to the Government,” Laanet said.
Jüri Adams, Martin Helme, Kalle Palling and Marianne Mikko took the floor on behalf of factions during the debate. In the debate, Helme supported the draft Resolution and Mikko was against. Adams considered it necessary to discuss the role of the Riigikogu in the future.
Palling stressed that the European Union Affairs Committee includes members from all committees and all factions, and the work of the committee should not be disrespected. “The parliament is a parliament also outside the plenary hall,“ Palling said.
The result of voting: 49 members of the Riigikogu in favour and 17 against.
Video recordings of the sittings of the Riigikogu can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/riigikogu
(NB! The recording will be uploaded with a delay.)
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