Minister says money to increase teachers' wages will be found by mid-May

Financing for increasing teachers' salaries will be found by mid-May so that teachers' wages could be raised as of September 1 through amending this year's state budget.

Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees Chairwoman Inga Vanaga saida after the union's rally at the Saeima building that teachers had been able to show their "strength and unity" during the rally.

During teachers' meeting with Saeima and Cabinet of Ministers' representatives March 20, teachers were informed that €1.7 million out of €9 million necessary for increasing teachers' salaries has been found, and the remaining financing would be identified through cooperation between teachers' union and the government.

"We agreed to cooperate," said Vanaga, adding though that the union would discuss the offer at a meeting on March 27 as well as consider staging a strike.

"We will consider staging a strike to keep the pressure on the government. If the government and parliament cannot find financing by mid-May, and cannot prove us that the necessary financing could be find according to their plan, teachers will strike," said Vanaga.

Education and Science Minister Ilga Špulinska (New Conservative Party) said that the two sides on March 20 agreed on cooperation in drafting amendments to the 2019 state budget when the budget would be reviewed in the second reading. The amendments will state that the government resolves to increase teachers' salaries - on several conditions, including continuing optimization of school network – which in effect means merging or closing schools. 

According to Suplinska, the Finance Ministry continues work on finding the financing necessary for increasing teachers' salaries. €1.7 million has already been agreed on, she said, adding that this money comes from successful implementation of measures combating shadow economy.

As reported, about 2,000 teachers gathered March 20 by the Saeima building, demanding the pay rise that had been adopted in the law earlier.

The protest campaign organized by the Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees gathered teachers from all Latvian regions.

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