LBAS Manifestation on the 1st of May: "Decent Work for Healthy and Educated People in Latvia"

On the 19th of April Free Trade Union Confederation of Latvia (LBAS) at its Steering Committee meeting took a unanimous decision: to hold people’s meeting-manifestation "Decent Work for Healthy and Educated People in Latvia". The manifestation took place on the 1st of May in Riga, Dome Square.
The event was successful, more than 3000 people participated in the manifestation.

The 1st of May is Labour Day and the day of Constitutional Assembly Convocation of the Republic of Latvia. LBAS therefore invited all people of Latvia be present at the Latvian democracy birthday and acknowledge their desire to live in an orderly country in which every person can realise his or hers own socio-economic rights, where to have decent work and receive decent wage, good education and affordable health care.

The Latvian Education and Science Employees Union (LIZDA) called its members to support the event as the sector has a lot of uncertainties and unsolved problematic issues having impact on both - decent remuneration and quality of education and science. These uncertainties raise doubts in employees, avoidance to ensure them with decent work is a lasting problem causing degradation of education and science environment.

Due to the current policy of Latvia in the last 20 years the country has lost 25% of the population and 40% of young people. Nevertheless, the Latvian banking experts and their close circles want to worsen this situation further by saying that the potential increase of health care sector’s financing is like "putting money in a bottomless bag”.

This statement ignores the WHO study, which confirms the effectiveness of invested spending in the health care system in Latvia and also ignores both internationally recognized auditors and the State Audit reports confirming unjustified low service payment rates in health care.

As reported, this year the Latvian health care sector receives the lowest funding since 2001 in % of gross domestic product (GDP), and it is more than two times lower compared to the average health care funding in the EU: 3% to 7% of GDP. Such behaviour of the Latvian politicians is in sharp contrast to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) and the EC recommendations for Latvia. Unfortunately the consequences are severe: access to healthcare in Latvia is the worst in the EU, queues in medical institutions increase, disability and mortality increase as well.

The Constitution (Satversme) states that Latvia is a socially responsible country where everyone has equal rights to decent wage for decent work, social security, guaranteed health care and education.

Following demands were delivered to the Saeima and the Government of the Republic of Latvia on 1st of May:
1. Ensure urgent and fundamental increase of financing for health care according to recommendations of WHO;
2. Reduce long existing wage inequality for teachers and scientists and pay in full for all their work done;
3. Ensure decent remuneration also for people receiving low wages;
4. Realize targeted elimination of the informal economy and smuggling;
5. Stop wasting public funds for various inefficient projects;
6. Introduce fair and proportional taxation system;
7. Strengthen state support for concluding enterprise collective agreements, general sector agreements and ensure respectful,
constructive and professional social dialogue with social partners;
8. Stop legal nihilism and ensure compliance with normative acts in force.