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Friday 13.12.2019 | Name days: Veldze, Lūcija

VTU Valmiera: there is a lack of honest workers for low-skilled jobs

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There is a lack of honest workers willing to do low-skilled jobs in Latvia. This problem also exists among bus and taxi drivers – this kind of work is no longer respected. The prestige of this profession has also declined over the years, said VTU Valmiera Chairman Oskars Spurdzins in an interview to BNN.

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUWhat are some of the most notable recent events in your sector?

The formation of a public transport council. It is planned that it will help avert problems and seek solution to existing problems with public transport connectivity on an inter-city and rural level. The council has included regions that know the situation better than others in the planning stage.

The second most notable matter is the regulation that states the model of compensation of losses caused by public transport service provision. Passenger carriers believe the current system is not too successful and that there are many biased criteria. It has to be sorted out. Latvian Passenger Carriers Association plans to submit its opinion on this matter to Transport Ministry. Action has to be taken in order to stop illegal passenger carrying activities.

Can you say economic conditions are improving and there is a lot of potential for economic growth in the market?

Our industry does not fell anything of the sort. Improvement of economic conditions affects the number of passengers we carry every year. This number, however, continues to decline, with many people leaving Latvia and birth rates remaining as they are now.

How would you describe the government’s economy policy aimed at improving the economic situation in the country?

Passenger carrying is an important part of the whole transport sector. It also helps reflect major economic processes in the country. Right now, I cannot say if there are any notable changes. We hope decisions of the Public Transport Council will be reasonable and will be considered by carriers.

How is the industry affected by Latvia’s policy? What changes to legislation would you like to see? What helps? What makes things more complicated?

Latvia’s policy has a large impact on the business. SIA VTU Valmiera is a municipal company. Therefore, there is a lot of impact on development on a domestic and national scale. In order for the company to work successfully, honest businesses require support from the state. This means equal opportunities for all passenger carriers. We would like to see more action being taken against dishonest carriers so that there is competition that contributes to development.

How would you describe the industry’s position in the Baltics? What about competition with Estonia and Lithuania?

We are positive about our position in the Baltic market – we are a modern company with serious experience (VTU Valmiera will celebrate its 70th jubilee in 2015). We seek solutions to make sure passengers are satisfied. We believe there is no competition among countries in this regard. There are other companies, but we all share the same system, which is continuously improved.

What can you can your ‘trump card’? What is your ‘Achilles’ heel’?

Looking at things from a passenger viewpoint, our company’s services are well-available and have relatively low prices. Vidzeme has a special characteristic to it – low population density and long roads. Therefore, in order to make public transport services affordable for residents, the difference of costs is covered by the state. Good availability and low prices can also serve as an Achilles’ heel – raising tariffs is prohibited and the state has to look for funding.

Can you say there is a lack of skilled workers in Latvia?

Yes, this kind of things is present. There is also a lack of workers willing to perform low-skilled work honestly. The sector is specific but the pay is inadequate.

A similar problem exists in regard to bus and taxi drivers. This profession is no longer respected by youngsters; its prestige has fallen. It is also worth mentioning that public transport drivers must also possess good communication skills, not just technical knowledge. This is why it is possible to introduce many changes to vocational education. The pay is also important, especially for young people who wish to work in this industry.

What do you predict for the next five years? Will the situation in the industry improve, worsen or remain the same?

It is hard to predict anything. Passenger carrying services will always be in demand. The matter regarding rural territories, where population density continues to decline, is more painful. It is important to maintain availability. Therefore, we cannot make do without grants.


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  1. mike walsh says:

    Many jobs lose loyal workers not because of pay issues but because workers are taken for granted and very often there is no prospect of returns, bonus, gifts of appreciation, advancement. I don’t recall ever having left a job over pay but for other reasons, many.

    • Linda says:

      Leaving a job for betterment is leaving a job over pay. Not all workers can have returns, bonus, gifts, etc., especially those in public service. I’d can certainly recall leaving a job for a higher paid one more than once.

  2. Tom says:

    Yeah you lost your jobs because you were sacked!! who in their right mind would employ you!

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