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Medics' pay increase of 7% approved for 2016

Salaries for healthcare employees will increase 7 percent next year on the average, according to a bill on distribution of extra EUR 10 million for healthcare workers' wages that the government approved Tuesday.

Nurses' wages will increase 9 percent to 10 percent, while salaries for higher-paid healthcare employees will increase less. So will wages for unskilled workers - their wages will increase regardless thanks to a higher minimum income from 2016.

The amendments will come into force on January 1 next year.

About 200 healthcare workers went on strike November 3 by the Latvian parliament, demanding higher pay. 

Medics had prepared to strike again in early 2016, but cancelled as the Health and Social Care Employees' Union struck a deal with with the Health Ministry in late November. 

According to Health Minister Guntis Belēvičs, the ministry and the medics will create a work group that will pan out solutions for the funding needed to raise healthcare workers' wages.

In particular, the work group has to come up with a plan to raise medics' wages by mid-2016 when suggestions for the next year's budget are usually handed in.

The trade union upholds its three demands: higher healthcare quotas, reducing patients' co-payments, and increasing the average wage healthcare workers by 10%.

The government has named defense, security, healthcare, and education spending as priorities for the 2016 budget.

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