Teachers in Latvia are requesting a 10 per cent salary increase, following an average reduction in teachers' salaries of 30 per cent from 2009 to 2011. The government opposes these demands, arguing that not all teachers deserve a salary increase. The proposal is to offer a small statutory salary increase only to those (approximately 2,000 out of 35,000) teachers who have met the highest qualification criteria. The Latvian Education and Science Trade Union (LIZDA) opposes this proposal as leading to segregation, discrimination and further impoverishment of Latvia's teachers and considers it as a sign of distrust of the profession. An industrial action was considered for early June 2012.
Latvian teachers' salaries are among the lowest in Europe. In 2011, the minimum statutory teacher's salary was about â‚¬6,000 annually. While teachers' salaries are tied with student numbers and workload, the difference in pay is not high. In 2009, severe austerity measures resulted in the reduction of the education budget by 50 per cent.
The Latvian higher education budget has been particularly hard hit, with threatened 50 per cent cutbacks as of 2010.
Civil servantsâ€™ salaries were cut by 15 per cent in December 2008 and further 10 per cent in June 2009.
Pensions were slashed by 10 per cent and by 70per cent per cent for working pensioners.