Latvia's medical workers can expect pay rise next year

Next year, medical workers and technical staff of medical treatment institutions can expect a rather substantial increase in salaries, so it is likely that a strike will be avoided, Valdis Keris, chairman of the Latvian Union of Health and Social Care workers (LVSADA), said in an interview on the Latvian Television newscast “Morning panorama” on October 18.

Keris said there had been repeated consultations with the Ministry of Health on the issue of wage growth. “We discussed still last night, but there are already concrete outlines of the agreement that will still have to be decided by the [LVSADA] Council and the strike committee,” the Union leader added.

“If what is planned succeeds, next year doctors can expect an increase in average wages of just over 200 euros a month, nurses and assistant doctors would receive plus 85 euros a month, nursing assistants - 60 euros, and non-medical practitioners, if I am not mistaken, plus 40 euros a month,” Keris said.

He acknowledged that it was not as much as the trade Union had hoped, but any negotiations had to result in compromises.

“These figures are ones for which the [health] minister is willing to give assurances in the budgeting process. (...) There are situations where you better count on the "acorn" you can get in your hand,” Keris said.

An additional EUR 275 million is planned for the health sector in the draft budget, but the overall situation in the sector next year, according to Keris, is similar to this year. While wages promise to be higher, it will not be possible to increase “wage competitiveness, it will only be possible to keep it at about current levels,” the Union leader said.

But the good news is that “there will be no immediate threat of a rapidly deteriorating situation, as was the case earlier this year when emergency measures had to be taken,” Keris said.

On Wednesday, October 18, the Ministry of Health and LVSADA agreed on the increase of medical salaries; medical workers will not hold a strike, the Ministry said.

The Ministry of Health had previously planned to dedicate more than EUR 66 million to the increase in the remuneration of medical practitioners, which would allow doctors to raise salaries by 10%, care staff – by 5.5%, support staff – by 5.9%, while other employees – by EUR 44.

The agreement reached on Wednesday stipulates that an additional EUR 76 million is planned to be allocated as of January 1, 2024, to pay for the wage increase and education of healthcare workers, which is ten million euros more than previously planned.

“More funding will go towards increasing the pay of workers in the sector. The abovementioned increase in remuneration is a compromise“ Oskars Šneiders, representative of the Ministry of Health, told LSM.

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