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Anthropologists: Latvians are better at singing and dancing than at defending their interests

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULatvians are likely to gather for choirs, dances and Saturday cleanup events, but their Soviet heritage prevents them from actively organizing their interests, experts say.

According to them, the memory of the Soviet times remains for most Latvians. This belief is tied to the times when trade unions were related to the repressive regime, not the protection of workers’ interests.

Looking back at history we see that Latvians had a number of associations in every region in the early 20th century. There they gathered to unite and defend their interests, says the head of the Latvian and Baltic Wing of the University of Latvia Professor Ojārs Lāms.

Anthropologist Klāvs Sedlenieks believes Latvians are not used to defending their interest as a collective, because the country lacks the culture of organizational thinking. “The will of the people to defend their interests together was ruined by Kārlis Ulmanis, who banned all parties and limited the idea of free will on May 15, 1934. The rest was finished by the Soviet rule,” – says the anthropologist.

President of Latvian Free Trade Union Association Pēteris Krīgers notes that there has been an increase of people’s activity and general will to fight for their rights in recent years. “One of the best examples of this is the strike of workers of the Italian Nordic Metalplast last year,” – Krīgers says.

Defender of workers’ interests believes that results of trade unions’ activities can be evaluated not just according to their strikes, but for defending of interests of the working class on a national level. “The fact that we have achieved budget stability in regard to social matters is a great achievement. There are no more differences that could potentially negatively impact Latvian residents. Next year’s budget will have an increase of minimum salaries and dependant benefits. This will provide some support when we adopt euro,” – Krīgers explains.

In order for Latvian trade unions to grow in power and recognition, they should learn from Sweden, where trade unions are one of the many foundation blocks of the country’s welfare. Trade unions have real power in Sweden – this is shown by events of 2004, when Swedish construction trade union had blocked the object of Latvia’s Laval construction company. The trade union explained its actions by saying Latvian builders’ salaries were below those stated in the collective Swedish job contract, Sedlenieks says.

Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia will be holding a special campaign in Latvia this September 9 – December 31. It will be carried out as part of a project of the European Social Fund – Strengthening of Administrative capacity of Latvia’s Trade Unions Association.

Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia was founded in 1990. It is the largest non-government organization in Latvia that unites more than 20 labour organizations in the country and defends the interests of Latvian employees.

Ref: 102.109.109.9293


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  1. JPR says:

    Great people!

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  2. Olgo says:

    Fight the oligrachs and get rid of all the Asiatics!

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Maxim says:

    Too many douchebags

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  4. Mati says:

    The Latvians are a decent race, with a good portion of Nordic blood. The problem for the are the parasittic neighbours. They have to get rid of all of these pests, and then things will be much better, both socially and economically.

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