Pressure mounts on municipalities to boost culture workers' wages

In 2017 the Culture Ministry increased wages for several groups of employees working at national culture institutions. However the pay of people working in municipal culture organizations has not changed for several years, reported Latvian Television Thursday.

Librarians, teachers of music and art, as well as performers and other groups of people - about 2,000 individuals altogether - working at Culture Ministry institutions saw their pay increase this year.

"Wages are low for everyone so we are looking at the sectors where they're critically low and focusing on them," said the ministry's state secretary Sandis Voldiņš.

Pay differences between wages at a national and municipal level are quite notable.

National Library employees are paid around €800 before taxes while those at the Riga Central Library around €600, according to Aldis Misēvičs, a representative of the culture employees' union.

While at the town of Balvi the difference is even more striking.

"The librarian is paid €295 after taxes.

So €400 is the tiny wage he receives for his higher education, or perhaps two [degrees of higher education]," said Misēvičs.

He also said that libraries serve as cultural centers in towns and parishes and shutting them might prompt people to leave.

Around €10.7m have been allotted to pay increases for culture employees on a national level. With that the pressure is mounting on municipalities to boost their wages as well.

Misēvičs is hopeful that the upcoming 2017 municipal elections might make local authorities give ear to the cause.

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