In the result of the strike in November 2015, 9 million Euros were reserved from the state budget for teachers’ salaries raise. In September 2016, at the meeting of the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers, the Latvian Trade Union of Education and Science Employees (LIZDA) officials were informed that the Ministry of Education and Science of Latvia (IZM) made the decision to invest 1.7 million Euros, from the assigned 9 million for teachers’ salaries, in order to achieve another objective, which had not been negotiated before.

Dissatisfied with this decision, LIZDA immediately reacted reminding the IZM about fulfilling their duties and stating that the mutual respect in the negotiations between the Latvian Government and the Latvian teachers disappeared. LIZDA called for a protest action collecting signatures from all Latvian educational institutions’ employees to keep 1.7 million Euros for teachers’ salaries raise.

On 1 November 2016, LIZDA sent a letter with 17000 signatures from 697 Latvian educational institutions to Latvian Prime Minister Mr. Kucinskis with a request to establish a Commission on the disciplinary action consisting of the representatives from the Ministry of Finances and the State Chancellery to clarify essential points regarding the situation:

  1. how IZM could illegally make a decision to share the money which was negotiated to be spent only on the teachers’ pay increase;
  2. why they informed LIZDA before 1 September 2016 that all the money was spent on teachers’ pay increase;
  3. it is important to know who made a decision to use 1,7 million Euros for the other objective and to make sure that this person takes responsibility for this action.

Although 9 million Euros were a big achievement for LIZDA as the outcome of the 2015 strike, these funds are not sufficient to solve all the problems in the education sector which have been accumulated for years. Unfortunately, the IZM does not consider the suggested proposals (based on the LIZDA research) on how to improve the pay model presented by the Ministry which are insufficient and endanger the quality of education.

Ilze Prizevoite, LIZDA Vice President says, ‘’We are expressing a regret about ineffective social dialogue in Latvia, there is no more trust or respect towards the government among social partners, which has a significant impact on the education in Latvia as a whole. Hopefully, this time, LIZDA will achieve its goal and 1.7 million Euros will be spent on teachers’ salary raise. We would be very happy if the Latvian Government listened to the voice of the education employees and found a prompt solution to this situation.’’