Protest actions in Lithuania

Trade unions (TU) of Lithuania brought people from all over the country to Vilnius to demand an increase in the minimum wage, lower food prices, take job creation measures and stop emigration, reduce VAT for printed material. On 19th of March about 1500 – 2000 people took part in a rally from the Seimas to the Government building.

In the meeting TU leaders were encouraging the government to increase the minimum wage up to 1000 litas (now the monthly minimum wage in Lithuania is LTL 800 (about €232).

"Let’s look at Latvia, our neighbor, where the situation was worst and still is really difficult, but the minimum wage is higher and has increased again."- said A.Černiauskas, the leader of LPSK (Lithuanian Trade Union Confederation).

Since 2010 about 84 thousand people, mostly young, emigrated from Lithuanian and in twenty years of independence - almost half a million left the country. A.Jašinskienė, the president of the trade union “Solidarumas” was inviting people to be as one in demanding the government to take measures in job creation. „Only from our commitment and concentration dependent expected results.” – She finished her speech.

In the rally there were a number of posters with slogans like: "Maximum exploitation - a minimum of conscience “, “In a European country – a European wage!”, “Immigration has finished - the evacuation begins" etc. Specifically people demanded that the government ensures economic growth, decreases taxes, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and increases the minimum wage. Among the participants there was also parliamentary opposition, some politics from non-parliamentary parties.

In the trade union opinion, till now the government was focused on the business: the reduction or the corporation tax, the reduction of VAT for some sectors. Therefore, in TU view, now an ordinary worker should be taken into account. “The Prime Minister said that the crisis is over. So let us feel that this period is over!” - encouraged the government the leader of LDF (Lithuanian Labour Federation) V.Puskepalis.

That Saturday all the demands were brought to the government building, which was empty. The protest action was organized by the Lithuania Trade Union Confederation (LPSK), the Lithuanian Labour Federation (LDF) and the Lithuanian Trade Union ‘Solidarumas’ (LPS ‘Solidarumas’), together with the Lithuanian Journalists’ Union (LŽS)