Teachers to rally for wage-load balance in Rīga Tuesday

On Tuesday, 21 May, around 2,000 teachers are planning to picket outside the Cabinet of Ministers building to demand correct implementation of the strike agreement on balancing teachers' workload. 

The Latvian Education and Science Workers' Trade Union (LIZDA) has not reached an agreement with the Minister of Education and Science Anda Čakša (New Unity) on the issue of balancing teachers' workloads.

In an interview with Latvian Radio, when asked what the participants of the action would be told, Minister Čakša said that all the promises to teachers had been fulfilled so far.

"We understand that one of the reasons for burnout is the large number of teaching hours," Čakša said, pointing out that no changes are planned this year. The minister said that additional funding was needed to implement the changes, so there would be changes next year when there were additional funds. 

The Ministry of Education and Science (IZM) has reportedly made a proposal to balance teachers' workloads, calling on all teachers to switch to a 40-hour working week from September 1, 2025, with an additional cap on the number of contact hours in the classroom. But the trade union is not satisfied with the ministry's offer. 

Inga Vanaga, the head of LIZDA, said on Latvian Television's "Morning panorama" program that the Ministry of Education's offer on load balancing is "opposite" to what LIZDA and the Ministry have been arguing about for the past year. 

"We made calculations in the union according to the formula that the ministry has worked out. They estimate that some teachers will see their incomes fall [..].The ministry could not dispute these calculations at the meeting, nor could they present them to us for comparison," Vanaga said. 

The LIZDA leader said that at Tuesday's picket the teachers will demand that the Ministry of Education and the government continue to balance the workloads of all teachers, as the parties allegedly agreed last year. "[We will ask] politicians to be responsible for what they promised last year," Vanaga added. 

Vanaga also pointed out that LIZDA will not ask for the resignation of the minister in charge on this issue.

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