Latvia

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Overview

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 €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.

 

More than 50 primary and secondary schools were closed in 2010 (out of 800 in total).

 

Civil servants’ 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.

 

 

 

 
Last modified on Sunday, 11 August 2013

Updates

  

Wednesday, 06 November 2013

The Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees (LIZDA) has organised a warning strike in front of the National Parliament building in Riga to show their rejection of the government’s budget proposal on the minimum teachers’ salary.

“For many years, LIZDA members have been standing up and working for quality education in preschool, general, special, vocational, professionally-oriented and higher education, and research,” said LIZDA President Ingrīda Mikiško. “However, this time we must warn the government, Parliament and society that we cannot provide high quality education without proper funding.”

Around 2,000 education and science employees have shown their disapproval of the government’s budget proposal to increase the minimum monthly teacher salary from 280 LVL (€398) to 295 LVL (€420), as they believe this is not in keeping with the increasingly high qualifications requested from teachers.

Wednesday, 06 November 2013

The Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees (LIZDA) has organised a warning strike in front of the National Parliament building in Riga to show their rejection of the government’s budget proposal on the minimum teachers’ salary.

Tuesday, 01 May 2012

On 1 May 2012, at least 20,000 people marched peacefully through Riga wearing the label "alien" in English to oppose an EU law curbing the use of Russian in education. All schools must teach mainly in Latvian under the EU-approved law. Russian-speakers make up almost a third of Latvia's population and less than half have been given citizenship.

Wednesday, 02 November 2011

On 2 November 2011, Latvian students protested against further budget cuts to the public sector in Riga. The students claimed extra cuts would drive more Latvians out of the country - thousands have left this nation of 2.2 million people since it joined the EU in 2004.

After extraordinary Parliament elections in November 2011, Latvia gained new a Government, including new Minister of Education and Science, Roberts Kilis. The government’s first task was to form the budget of 2012. The new budget was obliged to include nearly €200 million budget consolidations to fulfil the agreement with the International Monetary Fund. Students decided to organise a protest procession on 4 November. The procession was initiated by art students who organised the “Kulturas pastaiga 5” (“Walk of Culture No. 5”), which was followed by processions organised by students of other higher education institutions.  This procession was just one which followed the series of events against budget cuts to education, science and culture since 2009.

Monday, 28 February 2011

On 28 February 2011, several hundred Latvian students gathered at the Cabinet building to protest against the budget cuts in education, LETA (National News Agency) observed.

Tuesday, 03 August 2010

On 3 August 2010, the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers approved an Action Plan for Necessary Reforms in Higher Education and Science (2010 – 2012) based on the informative report "On Necessary Structural Reforms in Higher Education and Science for Increasing Latvian Competitiveness Internationally". The action plan prescribes specific measures for the following four main actions:

 

  • Improving the quality of studies and scientific activities.
  • Modernising the resource basis for higher education and science institutions and increasing the efficiency of resources.
  • Internationalising higher education and increasing its export capacity. Aligning the higher education and science sectors with the country's economic and social development”.

 

 
  

Further information

Facts and data

Union contact

  • Latvian Educational and Scientific Workers' Trade Union, LIZDA
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