Teachers in Latvia threaten to request minister’s dismissal if funding use estimates are not improved

Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees (LIZDA) remains unconvinced by the estimates from the Ministry of Education and Science on whether the government’s allocated funding is enough to complete all strike demands. This is why the trade union will wait for corrections to estimates until the 1st of June, as confirmed by LIZDA chairperson Inga Vanaga.
If estimates still contain inaccuracies after the 1st of June, the trade union’s council will request dismissal of Minister of Education Anda Čakša.

If she does not step down after that, LIZDA council threatens to not start the next, 2023/2024 school year.

Vanaga mentions that the ministry’s calculations and estimates “have become better”. However, inaccuracies are still found in them, which begs the question whether the allocated funding will turn out enough to complete all demands voiced in the previous strike.
The ministry’s estimates are based on data from the National Education Information System as of the 1st of January for all teachers on all education levels. According to the ministry,

the actual distribution of funding among municipalities will be done in accordance with each municipality’s funding distribution order and the situation in various education facilities.

The ministry asks education facilities to correctly input data to the system, as well as distribute municipal and education facilities’ available funding based on good management principles and efficient use of state funding.
On the 21st of April Latvia’s government approved amendments from the Ministry of Education to the regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers, which provide for setting the minimal hourly rate for teachers, except for pre-school teachers, at EUR 8.50.
The lowest wage rate for pre-school teachers is planned to reach EUR 1 240 starting with the 1st of September 2023.
Teachers’ wage growth schedule timetable provides for the reduction of inequalities between the lowest salary rate for preschool and general education teachers that first appeared as a result of different workloads – for pre-school teachers the workload is 40 hours a week, whereas for the rest the workload will be set at 36 hours a week starting with the 1st of September.

To ensure growth of the lowest hourly rates, it was decided to allocate EUR 9 039 833 from the state budget programme for emergencies.

Despite this decision from the government, LIZDA organised a three-day strike on the 24th of April, accusing the government of not complying with their previous promises. Before the strike, LIZDA asked the government to increase teachers’ wages and change workload.
LIZDA threatened to extend the strike because they believed the government failed to complete all demands. The trade union and the ministry continued negotiations.
On the 26th of April the government decided to allocate an additional EUR 4 168 067 towards grants to help increase municipal teachers’ wages and thereby comply with strike demands.
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