Friday, April 03, 2009

Latvian teachers protest wage cuts

More than 10 000 Latvian teachers marched on the Cabinet of Ministers' building in Riga on April 2 to protest sharp cuts in salaries. The austerity measures have been imposed to meet cuts in public spending required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)  and lenders from the European Union in order for Latvia to receive EUR 7.5 billion in loans to keep the country from going bankrupt. 
The old lady speaking at the end of the video (with my rather sketchy subtitles) illustrates the mood of many people (though she was a passerby watching the event, not a working teacher. The Minister of Finance, Einārs Repše, told the hostile gathering that it was economically impossible to avoid the wage cuts on educator's salaries, which in many cases do not exceed LVL 350 a month or around EUR 500. However, commentators on Latvian internet portals said that even at this level of income, teachers were privileged and many were paid a much higher combination of basic salary and workload supplementary payments.

1 comment:

MrVariant said...

Thanks for your blog. You know, I never even knew Latvia existed; I know this sounds silly, but I just thought it was some fictional country Doctor Doom was from in the Fantastic Four.

I think the usual pattern goes that way; the weight that is lost during any economic crisis is usually those at the bottom that have nowhere else to turn to. I guess we just have to stay at home, not panic, and survive.