Teachers' strike set to go ahead in Latvia despite talks with ministry

The Latvian Education and Science Workers' Trade Union (LIZDA) decided on Wednesday to launch an open-ended strike on September 19, without accepting the offer made by the Ministry of Education and Science (IZM), said Inga Vanaga, Head of LIZDA, to Latvian Television September 15.

Seeking opportunities to prevent the open-ended strike by education workers, the government offered to switch to a 40-hour workweek with a pay rate of €1,200 a month starting January 1, as well as a workload balance change.

Inga Vanaga said that the strike would take place because there was no proportionate compromise and the LIZDA believes that the government's offer is aimed at dividing teachers without offering solutions to all groups of education workers.

“Regarding teacher workloads, the LIZDA has sought to find a solution from 2016 onwards, and these decisions have been made more quickly both by picket and by the strike procedure,” Vanaga said.

“We cannot accept the developed IZM offer, which covers only some educators. Of course, fiscal offer is also tempting, but there are a number of risks to this situation, including the potential chaos that might arise when pre-school teachers choose to go to primary schools or when they choose to work for vocational and interest education teachers in general education institutions,” Vanaga said.

"Another meeting is scheduled for tomorrow. If representatives of the government consider it useful to meet, we will meet. If not considered, the other party shall do what it considers necessary in such a situation. It is really important for us to have this solidarity and unity within our framework and not to allow for years of unsolved problems and solutions to be offered in this way," said Vanaga.

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