Minister responds to teacher demands; teachers dissatisfied

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Seeking opportunities to prevent the open-ended strike by education workers, the government will offer to switch to a 40-hour workweek with a pay rate of €1,200 a month starting January 1. This will mean a 30% rise in wages, Education and Science Minister Anita Muižniece (Conservatives) said after a meeting of the government parties on September 12.

“By understanding the load of each teacher, understanding that, at the moment, at the end of the 30-hour working week, teachers are still reviewing homework, preparing for the next day's teaching lessons, planning various activities and actually working 40 hours, we are offering a transition to a 40-hour working week from January 1 2023,” Muižniece said. 

It is planned to discuss this offer in the planned ministerial negotiations with the Latvian Education and Science Workers' Trade Union (LIZDA).

LIZDA's head Inga Vanaga told Latvian Radio on September 13 morning that the minister's offer is 'manipulative'.

She explained that starting September this year, the lowest monthly salary rate for teachers was €900 for 30 hours. On the other hand, if a teacher works for 40 hours at an existing rate, the salary should be €1,200. “It's already in effect from September, but the Minister for Education and Science is making this offer from January,” Vanaga said.

The Minister Anita Muižniece has also proposed to review the balance of load in working hours, with 24 classroom hours and 16 out-of-classroom hours a week.

"The inclusion of all responsibilities in the load is simply physically unenforceable, nobody agreed with the Ministry, neither the representatives of the municipalities, the education authorities, nor the heads of the educational establishments,” said Vanaga.

She said that if all teachers are offered the new load balance, it will create more than 4,000 vacancies, leaving schools half-empty.

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