PM 'didn't know' that politicians' wages will rise so steeply

Latvia's Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma (Unity) in a Latvian Television interview Tuesday expressed surprise about the steepness of the salary hike to the Latvian prime minister, ministers, parliamentary secretaries, parliament faction and committee heads next year.

The Prime Minister said that the wage hike was unethical as it was taken on the day of the teachers' strike. She also didn't know that the increase would be so steep as the Saeima Budget and Finance Committee had decided over the matter while Straujuma was in China on an official visit.

"Honestly, I didn't know that there would be such a rise," said Straujuma. "The government didn't raise its own wages [..] The Saeima Budget and Finance Committee made the decision, the government didn't come up with the suggestion," she said. 

"Such a raise shouldn't have taken place on the day of the [teachers'] strike," she said.

Straujuma also hinted that on Wednesday a decision, perhaps related to airBaltic, would be announced.

More than 700,000 euros have been allocated to increase the salaries to the Latvian prime minister, ministers, parliamentary secretaries, parliament faction and committee heads next year. The Saeima committee came up with the proposal on November 27, when teachers went on a 1-day strike over pay.

Even before the final budget vote, speculation was already mounting that with one of the government's key duties out of the way, Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma might step down in the near rather than distant future.

"All governments end their terms in office sooner or later, and when it happens in my case, I will inform all of you," Straujuma told reporters at Saeima. 

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