Teachers' strike is government's failure - President

The teachers' strike, scheduled for this Friday, with the participation of at least 22,000 educators, is an indicator of the government's performance, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis said Monday.

"The most important thing the government has to understand is that the issue of teachers' salaries had to be solved a long time ago. Delays in the government have caused the strike," said the president.

He said that the strike means that the government has not worked satisfactorily and said all professional bodies have the right to take industrial action in accordance with the law.

More than 22,000 teachers from 850 schools and preschools, higher schools of learning and scientific institutions will participate in a one-day warning strike on November 27.

The Trade Union of Education and Science Employees is demanding an extra allocation of EUR 9 million for improving the remuneration system for all those employed in education, especially in preschools and small schools, and, secondly, improved funding for higher education and science.

Education and Science Minister Marite Seile said earlier that the trade union's decision to strike is not constructive or rational as a reconciliation commission meeting on November 6, in her opinion, had achieved an agreement on several points.

Meanwhile a separate debate is raging between the two parties on whether teachers should accept pay for the day on which they are striking or whether they should renounce it, a move urged by Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma.

Vejonis' criticism would seem to add weight to whispers that the current Latvian government might be due a reshuffle at the very least following the passing of next year's budget, due November 30.

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