Both the Ministry of Education and Science (IZM) and the Latvian Education and Science Employees’ Union (LIZDA) have a common understanding of the most important work to be done, also strengthening the fulfillment of strike demands, Minister of Education and Science Anda Čakša (JV) said after a meeting with representatives of LIZDA.
During the meeting today, January 24, Čakša and LIZDA chairman Inga Vanaga emphasized that both the ministry and LIZDA have a common goal – quality education for every student in any school in Latvia. However, it is impossible to achieve this without increasing the teacher’s salary and raising the prestige of the teaching profession.
Therefore, today both sides agreed on the next steps and deadlines for raising the minimum salary rate for teachers. The first step is planned from September 1, 2023, the next – from January 1, 2024 and every year thereafter on January 1, until 2027. Then there would be a connection with the state budget formation process.
Today, specific calculations were submitted to the teachers’ union, which it will evaluate until the next meeting, already this Thursday, January 26, when the negotiations will continue, also discussing issues of balancing the teachers’ workloads.
Čakša evaluates today’s meeting as very constructive, emphasizing that the main goal has been achieved – both the ministry and LIZDA have a common understanding of the most important tasks to be performed, also strengthening the fulfillment of strike demands. “We are inextricably talking about two things to ensure quality education – both teachers’ salaries and the arrangement of the school network. And only by working together can we hope for a result that will provide added value to the overall development of our country,” says the minister.
LETA Vanaga told the agency that on January 26, the trade union is waiting for more accurate calculations from the Ministry of Education and Culture regarding the schedule of salary increases for teachers. In the calculation, it is necessary to present all groups of pedagogues, starting from preschool pedagogues and ending with higher education pedagogues, and it is also necessary to include the salaries of employees of other educational institutions. LIZDA also asked on January 26 to receive an insight into the distribution of workloads.
Hawk expresses his satisfaction that he and Chaksha are able to come to an understanding that the salary increase schedule for pedagogues should come into effect from September 1.
It has already been reported that LIZDA, threatening an open-ended teacher’s strike, reached an agreement with the government in September on changes in the salary and workload of teachers.
General education teachers, including special education teachers, were promised to increase the cost of one student in the new targeted grant calculation model from January, which would mean additional funds for salary increase.
Also, the agreement provided that from the new school year, educators will switch to a 36-hour work week, where 65% are contact hours and 35% of hours are allocated to other work of educators, and the lowest salary of educators will be 1,080 euros. The salary of preschool teachers will be raised by 100 euros, reaching 1070 euros. On the other hand, from September 1, preschool teachers will switch to the load balance “34+6”.
The government decided to extend the deadline from December 1, 2022 to February 1, 2023 for the development of the salary increase schedule for educators, as well as for the development of guidelines for balancing the workload of educators, because the formation of the government has taken a long time and work on the development of next year’s budget has not started until with that, the country will start the next year with a technical budget that does not include new priorities.