Teachers consider protest against broken pay rise promise

The Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees (LIZDA) is considering a protest in response to the government’s failure to raise teachers’ wages as scheduled, the union’s leader Inga Vanaga told LETA February 18.

The LIZDA council is due to meet February 20. The first part of the meeting will take place behind closed doors, but later LIZDA representatives plan to talk to government officials – Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity), Education and Science Minister Ilga Šuplinska (New Conservative Party) and Finance Minister Jānis Reirs (New Unity), as well as lawmakers representing the Saeima ruling coalition.

Vanaga said that some LIZDA members called for action, including protests, already in January when the signals were received that the teachers’ wages might not be increased in line with the schedule approved by Latvia’s previous government. At that time, the trade union decided to wait until the new government gets approved and see if there were grounds for the teachers’ concerns.

Since the promised pay rises were indeed postponed, the LIZDA council now plans to discuss staging a protest to demand the fulfilment of the government-approved decisions.

As reported, Latvia’s new government has decided to tackle the issue of teachers’ wages in the 2020 budget, it follows from the remarks made by PM Kariņš earlier this month.

Asked if the financing necessary for the promised pay rises for teachers has been provided, the prime minister said that this is largely a “technical budget”, which has to be adopted as soon as possible. As for Saeima’s earlier decisions on “even steeper pay raises for teachers”, they will be included in the 2020 budget, “when we start developing our own policy instead of passing a technical budget,” Kariņš said.

The premier agreed that raising teachers’ wages was an objective necessity.

This means that the previous government’s plan which provided for gradually raising the teachers’ wages from this year until 2022 will not be implemented.

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