Unions say Latvia's employers stall minimum wage raise

Employers have stalled the raising of the minimum wage in Latvia without justification, said the head of the Free Trade Unions Association Egils Baldzēns on Latvian Television August 2.

Baldzēns mentioned Lithuania as an example, stating that it plans to increase the non-taxable minimum by EUR 125 from next year, as well as raise the minimum wage to EUR 924.

“Employers have always braked the raising of the minimum wage, but that is not justified,” Baldzēns said. “That means we are further lagging behind Lithuania, not getting closer to their level.”

Baldzēns said that the Ministry of Finance proposed to increase national revenues from the gross domestic product by 0.7% next year, but this is not possible if there is no increase in wages.

“We have to do so that we don't have a situation where we live in a shadow economy and with envelope wages,” Baldzēns said.

The trade unions' association considers that both the minimum wage and the non-taxable minimum should be raised in Latvia. “Last year it was stalled, we had already agreed with the government that we would consider the issue at the end of August, September. In the end, on the employers' side, it was torpedoed, they didn't want a minimum-wage increase.”

According to the association, it is also necessary to move the issue of labor taxes, thereby increasing net wages, as inflation has been disproportionately high, and many groups of employees have been compensated at minimal or even zero levels.

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