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Lithuania’s political and economic diary. Lithuanian teachers stage warning strike, more protests to come

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUPart of Lithuanian teachers staged a warning strike on Thursday, November 13.

Teachers demand a raise in the so-called pupil’s basket, funding for one student, to the level of 2009. They also want wages of teachers from pre-school establishments to be raised to the level of school teachers as well an increase in the basic wage. The trade unions also want a collective agreement of the education system to be signed, among other things, providing for teachers’ retirement at the age of 55.

The whole education system is suffering because of funding cuts, and we cannot do certain education processes, according to Liuda Ščensnovičienė, the trade union leader representing teachers of Vilnius Simonas Daukantas Progymnasium.

As teachers protested, extracurricular activities were organized instead of some classes.

Education and Science Minister Dainius Pavalkis says the action is illegal and that all demands cannot be satisfied due to the budgetary constraints.

The ministry says teachers from only 33 schools and vocational training establishments are taking part in the strike. Meanwhile, the teachers’ trade union claims the strike involves around 100 schools.

Pavalkis has said that the strike might have something to do with the upcoming municipal council elections.

All euro cargo delivered to Lithuania

Lithuania has stocked up its Central bank with euro banknotes.

The third and final shipment of euro banknotes was flown from Germany to Lithuania on Wednesday, November 12.

«The entire amount of euro banknotes for Lithuania – some 132 million banknotes weighing 114 tons – have been safely delivered to the vaults of the Bank of Lithuania,» the central bank said in a press release.

According to the Lithuanian Bank governor Vitas Vasiliauskas, it was the largest shipment of cash to Lithuania. «The euro banknotes are already being distributed from the Bank of Lithuania’s vaults in Vilnius and Kaunas to commercial banks, from where they will continue their journey to trade and service enterprises,» he said.

Meanwhile, in less than three weeks after the Euro Exhibition opened in Vilnius, the number of its visitors has exceeded 10,000.

Groups of schoolchildren, employees, pensioners, students and families from all over Lithuania actively register for guided tours, the Bank of Lithuania reports.

«The number of visitors, which is beyond expectations, shows the increasing interest in the future currency. People are attracted by the possibility to actually see, hear and ask, while the Euro Exhibition, which is interactive and free, and has a practical and accommodating team of guides, creates perfect possibilities for that,» said Giedrius Simonavičius, director of the Communications Department of the Lithuanian Bank.

Lithuania urges Russia to end war against Ukraine in UN

Lithuania has urged Russia to end an undeclared war against Ukraine in the United Nations Security Council session on 12 November that addressed the latest developments in Ukraine.

«The conflict in Ukraine is not an internal affair. Not a civil war. Nor a rebellion of disgruntled citizens. It is Russia’s war against Ukraine for daring to choose a different – European – path,» said Permanent Representative of Lithuania to the UN, Ambassador Raimonda Murmokaitė.

The ambassador expressed concern about Russia‘s continuous support to separatist fighters that was reported by the observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

OSCE observers registered unmarked convoys of trucks carrying substantial amounts of heavy weaponry, ammunition, and tanks cross the Russian-Ukrainian border and moving westwards inside the separatist-held areas.

The Lithuanian ambassador urged Russia to observe the Minsk agreement and allow unhindered monitoring by the OSCE of the Ukrainian-Russian state border, and noted that a peaceful settlement of the crisis in eastern Ukraine is in Russia’s hands.

Lithuania must raise minimum wage annualy

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė has stressed that minimum pay in Lithuania remains the lowest in the three Baltic states and it should be raised on a yearly basis.

«We must clearly understand that the minimum pay in Lithuania is the smallest in the entire region – smaller than that of Latvia and Estonia. The minimum pay should be increased every year, yet, it must be done in line with the growth of the average pay in order to avoid economic overkill and protect businesses,» the president said.

According to Grybauskaitė, given a 5-7 percent annual growth of the average pay, the minimum monthly pay should be raised at equal pace.

As reported, on Wednesday the ruling coalition parties agreed that the minimum monthly wage should be EUR 325 (LTL 1,122) from 2015.

Lithuanian ministry ramps up security of strategic facilities

The Lithuanian Transport Ministry has proposed to establish protection zones around strategic facilities and infrastructure, so that it could be possible for authorities to check if potential investors meet the national security criteria.

The ministry proposes that the list of protection zones should include the Seaport of Klaipėda and areas near key roads, traffic control installations and polders, as well as areas around the airports of Vilnius, Kaunas and Palanga (within 100 meters from their boundaries), the Šiauliai military airport (within 1.5 kilometers from the boundary) and other airfields (within 100 meters from their runways).

It also wants to protect areas around certain railway stations, railway bridges, the Kaunas railway tunnel and railway sections in the border areas.

«The main goal is to set up zones where it would be possible to assess a potential investor’s compliance with the national security criteria. There is no legal ground to initiate this (procedure) now. Thus, there are no reasons for rejecting an investment when suspicions arise or are confirmed, » Deputy Transport Minister Arijandas Šliupas told.

According to Šliupas, the ministry’s proposal, as well as the president-initiated amendments to a law on enterprises of strategic importance, comes after a recent scandal over a planned investment project by a Russian-owned company near Šiauliai airport, where NATO’s air policing mission is based.

Ref: 020/111.111.111.1945


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