Proposals about the size of the minimal salary for 2013 will be discussed during the National Tripartite Council meeting on Thursday, July 5. It is likely that trade unions and employers will come to an agreement to preserve the current size of the minimal wage amount – 200 LVL, but the Latvian Free Trade Union will ask the government to increase the non-taxable minimum up to 90 LVL instead of the current 70 LVL, as well as increase the benefit for dependents up to 100 LVL.
«The LFTU agrees that the minimal wage amount can remain the same, but attention should be brought to the fact that the non-taxable minimum needs to be increased to 90 LVL in 2013, in order to increase the amount of money in the beneficiary purse,»- says Chairman of LFTU Peteris Krigers. Also, according to him, benefits for dependents should also be increased up to 100 LVL, which would not only increase the amount of money the person receives, but also stimulate the resolution of the demographic problem, showing that the state supports families with children at least a little.
Unions especially point that the question about minimal salaries cannot be viewed separately from the non-taxable minimum and dependents’ benefits.
«Of course we are slowly coming towards minimal wage becoming a same amount as the average wages of employed people, and then the minimal wage can be increased by some 220-230 LVL. It would practically mean from 163 to 170 LVL «on hands» and would make the living wage closer to the minimal wage, but still not reaching it. As statistics show – the living wage is currently 176.26 LVL. 37% of working people in Latvia receive a minimal wage or a wage close to it,»- says the Chairman of LFTU.
Unfortunately, the government has shown once again that, when resolving a question about addressing the issues of human security with social guarantees, commitments, agreements and previous promises have no weight, because 2014 the promised funding – 4.5% of GDP for the health care budget is now being promised only in 2020. This is why the concerns of LFTU are more than justified: whether or not these benefits – non-taxable amount and benefits for dependents – will be adopted in the amount requested by the unions.
«The main disadvantage of our government is the gap between the tax policy and salaries, our politicians are still clinging to the practical principle of cheap labour, ignoring huge emigration numbers and falling birth rates,»- says Deputy Chairman of LFTU Egils Baldzens.