Latvian Teachers, University personnel and researchers „whistled out” the state budget during the warning piquet at Latvia Parliament

Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees (LIZDA) organized a warning piquet at the National Parliament (Saeima) building in Riga on Thursday, October 24th.

LIZDA appeals the Parliamentary deputies to support the demands of teachers, university personnel and researchers to increase the educational and research budget for 2014 and the following years. The demands include:
• Increasing teachers’ salaries to 310 LVL (442 EUR) in 2014;
• Increasing teachers’ salaries in 2015 and 2016;
• To provide the funding for the higher education in accordance with the normative regulations (annual increase +0,25% from the GDP);
• To provide the funding for research in accordance with the normative regulations (annual increase +0,15% from the GDP).

More than 2 000 education and science employees with their whistles “whistled out” the governmental budget proposal to increase the minimum teacher salary from 280 LVL (398 EUR) to 295 LVL (420 EUR) because this proposal does not correspond with the qualification demands to teachers that are increasingly high. In comparison with the increasing minimum salary to 225 LVL (320 EUR), the teacher salary does not correspond to the demands towards work and stressful working conditions and is in contradiction with the quality of teaching and decent work in education.

The government has not planned any funding increase for the higher education and research. Taking into account that during the crises the higher education funding has decreased for 55% and research funding – for 67%, the lack of funding is going to deteriorate the sector. Taking into account that existing legislation has determined the increasing public funding for education and research, the government turns clear back to the legislation adopted by the Parliament decisions and national legislation. Besides, the government has turned also a clear back to the Recommendations of the European Commission (2012) and the World Bank (2011) concerning the development of education and research sphere in Latvia.

LIZDA President Ingrīda Mikiško emphasizes: „In order to survive, the education and research employees have to overwork, they work more than one workload, and that creates extra burden on education workers’ health, and in long term might have negative impact to the quality of education. Correcting student works, preparations and other duties are covered only partly.

Teachers have been awarded the quality levels, without appropriate funding, and due to that the teacher salaries might even decrease. Job intensification of teachers, university teachers and researchers is requested for the decreasing remuneration. It results in aging and total feminization of the profession. This list could be continued further”.

The piquet was supported the Latvian Free Trade Union Confederation (LBAS) and its affiliated organisations. LIZDA received also an international support from EI and ETUCE member organizations.

If politicians are not going to listen to LIZDA, further protest activities will follow.