Not only teachers are waiting for bigger wages, says PM

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Latvian Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis (Greens and Farmers Union) in talks with the Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Workers (LIZDA) will underscore that the timetable on raising teachers’ wages will be implemented, while LIZDA will be called to understand that not only teachers are waiting in line with demands for bigger wages.

Kučinskis said in an interview with commercial LNT television on August 21 that by meeting teachers’ demands at once, freezing other projects, the government will not manage to draft a balanced budget.

"In line with pickets and demands for bigger wages there are not only teachers, but also athletes, interior sector representatives and many others," the prime minister said.

The Latvian Education and Science Ministry will back the Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Workers (LIZDA) in talks about raise of teachers’ wages, Education and Science Minister Kārlis Šadurskis (Unity) told LETA earlier.

The New Unity’s representative Sandris Sabajevs informed LETA that the union of parties has called on Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis (Greens/Farmers) and Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola (Greens/Farmers) to take teachers’ demand on raising the minimum wage for standard workload into consideration. The matter will be put up for discussion at the coalition council meeting next week.

The minister underscored that the ministry in talks with the prime minister and finance minister will back LIZDA’s position on insisting on raise of teachers’ wages in line with the timetable.

The ministry needs additional €10 million to ensure the raise in the last four months of this year, €34 million in 2019, and €58 million in 2020.

The Latvian Cabinet of Ministers on Tuesday approved the timetable for increasing teachers' salaries, undertaking to gradually increase the minimum monthly wage for educators, making the increase conditional on the results of optimization of the school network.

Under the timetable proposed by the Educations and Science Ministry, the minimum wage for teachers should be raised from €680 to €710 a month already from September 1, 2018, with the necessary financing to be provided from the existing budget this year.

Under the timetable, the minimum monthly wage for standard workload for teachers is to be increased gradually over the next few years, indicatively reaching €900 by September 1, 2022.

Although the government approved the timetable, it added a reservation, stating that the pay rise should be effected depending on the economic situation in Latvia and implementation of the measures planned by the government.

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