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Saturday 19.08.2017 | Name days: Melānija, Imanta
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2,000 teachers and scientists gather outside of Saeima building on protest act

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On Thursday, October 24 nearly 20,000 teachers and scientists came to the protest act outside of Saeima building to demand fair salaries.

Protesters held up posters and continued to whistle throughout the protest act. Some posters said things like “Crisis is over, give us back our salaries!”; “Let teachers live, not exist!”; “We want higher salaries for teachers!”; “Respectable salaries for respectable work!”.

Teachers came all the way from Aluksne, Dobele, Kraslava, Riga, Jurmala, Liepaja and other regions of Latvia.

Education and Science Minister Vyacheslav Dombrovskis came out to talk to the protesters.

Teachers kept shouting “Salary! Salary!” every now and again.

Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees (LIZDA) chairwoman Ingrīda Mikiško noted that this protest act was only the first step. The next step could be a strike. She believes politicians are confused because there is enough money on paper, but actual salaries remain the same for teachers. She believes there can be no talk of changes and quality if no money is allocated to achieve them. She says teachers are prepared for reforms and changes. Nevertheless, she stressed that Latvian teachers have the lowest salaries in Europe.

She says Latvia’s education is close to collapse because of teachers’ low salaries and high work load. She also mentioned that European Education Workers’ Trade Union has expressed support for Latvian teachers’ and scientists’ protest and demands. This European organization has sent a letter to Prime Minister Valdis Dombrovskis, asking to increase salaries and secure adequate funding for higher education and science.

As it was mentioned by LIZDA social relations specialist Edgars Grigorjevs, all teachers of Valmiera primary school participated in the protest act with the school’s parent council’s consent.

Grigorjevs says the overall education process will not suffer because of the protest act.

As it was previously reported, today’s protest act had been unanimously agreed upon by LIZDA in order to protest the signing of the memorandum regarding teachers’ salaries. The memorandum project developed by Education Ministry, Prime Minister’s office and Finance Ministry provides for allocating additional funding for teachers’ salaries in 2014. The government promises to increase the lowest teachers’ salaries in general and professional education – EUR 420 for teachers with work experience over ten years, EUR 410 for teachers with work experience of five to ten years and EUR 400 for teachers with work experience up to five years.

According to Dombrovskis, setting the lowest rate at LVL 320 for teachers’ salaries (as requested by LIZDA) is an impossible request.

Ref: 102.109.109.9441


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