“From next year, under the remuneration law, an increase in pay for top officials, including MPs, is expected. It is essential that three years ago the 13th Saeima had decided not to raise [salaries] and maintain Members' salaries by the end of their term of office at the level of 2019. However, from the new year, according to the law, the remuneration of the 14th Saeima Members will automatically grow. The Commission therefore agreed to call on the government to assess the current remuneration system in line with the current economic conditions in the country and to report to parliament,” Jānis Vucāns (Union of Greens and Farmers), Chairman of the Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee, said at the meeting.
A decision was taken at the committee on the consideration of a collective application for the freezing of salaries for top public officials signed by 10,434 citizens.
The authors of the initiative have called for the freezing of the salaries of the President, Saeima Speaker, Prime Minister, Parliamentary Secretaries, Ministers, and Saeima deputies. Nora Freimane, the author of the initiative, believes that times of crisis and inflation are not the right time to talk about increasing wages for politicians.
As a result of the reform of the remuneration adopted last year, an additional EUR three million has been directed to raise salaries for top political posts, the Latvian Television broadcast “De facto” previously reported. On the other hand, the rise of salaries of ministerial officials and other officials working in the State administration, which was the main purpose of the remuneration reform, has not been planned in the budget.
As a result, next year, the President, the Prime Minister, and the Speaker of the Saeima will receive nearly eight thousand euros a month before tax. The rises in wages will be the following in 2023 (in euros):
- President of State from 6260 to 7962 (+27%)
- Speaker of the Saeima from 4565 to 7962 (+75%)
- Prime Minister from 5216 to 7962 (+53%)
- Saeima deputy 2963 to 3981 (+34%)
- Minister 4952 to 7052 (+42%)
- Parliamentary Secretary 3841 to 6256 (+63%)
Progressives party member Kaspars Briškens told Latvian Radio that though remuneration should be a motivating factor in political positions and "we will certainly not be among those parties who will appeal to populist calls that MPs and ministers should work for free", some of these increases are disproportionate and the reform should have started with other employees in the state administration.
"What must be talked about is certain positions where the expected increase in pay is not fully justified. For example, the increase in remuneration for parliamentary secretaries does not appear to be justified, since it is unlikely that the contributions of parliamentary secretaries are comparable to the level of ministers. We doubt it. Consideration should be given to the expected increase in pay across the spectrum", said the Member.
The need to discuss changes to the remuneration system was also acknowledged by representatives of the parties belonging to the coalition. The salary changes must be justified, said Edgars Tavars, head of the “United List” Saeima faction.
"This matter has been left to us by the last Saeima. I will say this in a way that we need to look at it more broadly, as is the case with this initiative. At the moment, I am not going to mention what the outcome of these negotiations will be, but I believe that this should be talked about and this initiative should not be abandoned under any circumstances," Tavars said.