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Saturday 29.02.2020 | Name days:
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Latvian teachers fail to secure more money for wages; promise to protest

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUWhen discussing the 2019 budget, Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers did not support the proposal submitted by Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees on the allocation money for additional wages. After the meeting of the government, LIZDA chairperson Inga Vanaga said teachers will protest against this decision outside the Saeima. If the parliament does not hear their plight, they will go on strike.

Vanaga invited the government to secure finances to increase teachers’ wages and cease the rhetoric regarding no reforms in education, which is used as a reason to not increase wages for teachers. Vanaga pointed towards 15 finished or ongoing reforms.

LIZDA reports that on 6 March the trade union will submit a request to Riga City Council to request permission to hold a protest act on 20 March outside the Saeima. Around 2,500 education and science workers, as well as other supporters, will gather for the protest «to demand from legislators compliance with Education Law, which makes it a duty to comply with the schedule to start increasing wages from 1 September 2019 onward,» the trade union states.

Education and Science Minister Ilga Šuplinska said no reforms are being performed in Latvia’s education sector. The minister also invited assessing if the situation with teachers’ pay is really all that critical, adding that statistics show that in schools where there are more teachers than children average wages reach EUR 710 or more. At the same time, Šuplinska admits solutions to increase teachers’ wages through reforms are in the works. As an example the minister mentioned the ministry’s plans to review its owned property.

The trade union admits that the government’s previously approved schedule provides for a gradual increase of the lowest monthly wages of teachers working in general education, primary schools and special education institutions, vocational education, hobby group education, as well as universities and colleges. The lowest wage is planned to be increased from EUR 710 to EUR 750 in September 2019, EUR 790 in September 2020, EUR 830 in September, and EUR 900 in 2022. The schedule also provides for gradually increasing wages of college and university education personnel from 2018 to 2022.

Even Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš believes it is possible to increase funding through reforms.

«If we want growth, the only way to achieve this is through reforms. This government expects several important reforms, and one of them is the administrative territorial reform, which will allow us to sort out the education system. This is why it will be a major challenge for Education and Science Ministry to create an education model that will provide quality education. To pay teachers appropriate wages, it is first necessary to sort out the system,» stressed the prime minister.


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