Medics to go on strike next week

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The Health Care Workers Union will go on strike September 29 protesting low salaries and insufficient state investment into health care, union head Valdis Keris told Latvian Radio 4. 

The union is still to decide about the place and manner of protest.

"The government has once again disrupted the discussions promised to us. Not a single euro cent has been allotted to increasing industry salaries," said Keris.

The medics demand an investment of €75m into health care next year. They want to reduce health care costs for patients, decrease waiting lists and increase salaries for health care specialists. Currently the state is ready to commit €45m.

"The Health Ministry has so far not thought it necessary to share information about the distribution of funds, but what we've learned from the Finance Ministry shows that patients will receive their part from the sum, but doctors won't," said Keris, referring to the €45 to be invested by the state next year.

"According to a decision by the Latvian government, signed by the PM and the Finance Minister in 2014, health care should receive an extra €367m next year. According to different estimates currently around €60m have been distributed," said Keris, adding that that's the reason why the total funding for the industry should be at 3.25% of GDP.

He claimed that the main reasons Latvia's health care is facing problems is inadequate funding. According to Keris, several health care workers' protests are coming, with the first slated for September 29. 

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