Teachers' union still dissatisfied with government offers

The Latvian Education and Science Workers' Trade Union (LIZDA) is still not satisfied with the calculations of the Ministry of Education and Science (IZM) in relation to the fulfillment of the requirements of the teachers' strike, Latvian Television reported on May 18.

If it turns out in the autumn that the target grant is not sufficient, the LIZDA Council considers that the Minister for Education should resign.

The teachers' protests and strikes asked for increased wages for all teachers and balanced uneven loads. Teachers eventually managed to get politicians to find more money for the education industry.

Until now, the trade union has lacked evidence in the form of calculations that would show that the money allocated would indeed be sufficient to meet all the requirements. This has been discussed with the employees of the responsible ministry for several days.

Education and Science Minister Anda Čakša (New Unity) stated: "Financing for pay increases and balancing of loads is sufficient. One important thing is that most of this funding changes to the balancing of loads. Because through this data, it appears that the greatest disadvantage in general education is the overload. As of September 1, the grant volume on average increases by 17.4% per municipality. And 94 million have broadly been allocated to both pay increases and load balance this year."

The Minister acknowledged that data system and analytics in general have not been the Ministry's strong side so far.

Meanwhile, there is still no confidence in the union that the funds will be enough. The head of LIZDA, Inga Vanaga, said that the calculations prepared by IZM had changed several times. The estimates presented on Tuesday and Wednesday were also different.

In an interview with Latvian Radio, Vanaga explained that the Ministry has attached an expert who performs the calculations. In general, the head of LIZDA acknowledged that the situation had become somewhat clearer, but the union was still not “as confident as the ministry in its statements that all requirements have been met”.

Vanaga said: “In less than a month, calculations have changed five times. [..] Nor can the expert answer why the estimates of several million euros have changed over two weeks."

Vanaga also acknowledged the lack of financial transparency: "The funding has indeed been allocated in addition, but there is no transparency of this financial flow. [..] If it is established that this target grant is not sufficient in the autumn, the [LIZDA] Council considers that the Minister for the industry should resign. "

Talks, going through detailed calculations, will continue next week.

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