Balvi municipality to fire 100 employees to solve financial crisis

The Balvi Municipality Council, which has found itself in a financial crisis, has decided to make structural changes to the local government to save funds. As a result, around 100 people will lose their jobs in local government institutions, Latvian Radio reported April 12.

The municipality is short EUR 4.8 million to provide basic functions. A series of austerity measures has been decided on. One is the closure of Viduči Secondary School.

48 pupils attend Viduči Secondary School, located in the small village of Semenova. With the City Council's decision from next school year, it will close, as will its branch in Žīguri. All employees will lose their jobs.

For austerity, a four-working day week is being introduced in the Balvi municipality starting June this year. For municipal employees, that means a 20% pay cut, said Tamāra Locāne, deputy executive director of the Balvi municipality council.

"No one is happy about it because the job has to be done the same way. The pay is lower, but to save that amount you have to lay off more staff and redistribute those responsibilities to those who remain. Of course, if fewer institutions remain, then there will be a further reduction in staffing, but there is now no way to cut more," noted Locāne.

Another austerity measure is the merger of parish authorities that has already begun. By creating four parish associations, it is planned to save nearly 330 thousand euros a year.

The head of the Baltinava parish association, the long-standing President of Baltinava municipality council Sarmīte Tabore, said that the creation of parish associations, like the previous municipal reform, has done no good to the ordinary rural person.

"The Baltinava Parish Association is based on five parishes. It is Baltinava which remains \the center of the union. Tilza civil parish, which is one of the largest parishes, and then smaller parishes – Lazduleja, Vectilza, and Briezuciems. The association is currently in the process of being formed," Tabore said. "Today I was in Briežuciems, where we already talked about possible options A, B, and C. Unfortunately, staff will have to reduce their workloads and unfortunately, some layoffs will probably take place."

Tabore said that it was very painful in rural territory that people over the age of 50 were not expected in the labor market by anyone: "This is no Rīga vicinity where I can move to a better workplace. People have already suffered from the closure of post offices, and the optimization of educational institutions. Unfortunately, the rural population is currently the most vulnerable and suffering the most. "

For budget and financial management, the municipality of Balvi will ask for a loan of 2.4 million euros for three years in the Treasury. It is planned to save EUR 1.7 million by introducing the austerity measures in local government institutions. For local government employees, this economy will cost around 100 job losses and for many, reduce workload and pay.

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