Lithuania: Agreement follows pressure from indefinite strike action


After massive protests  for better working conditions in Lithuanian’s education sector, the trade unions and the government managed to get back to the negotiation table and to finally reach an agreement.

Negotiations began last June 2015 when the trade unions demanded the improvement of working and social conditions for education workers including  a greater parity between primary and secondary school teachers and a permanent increase in education funding. Following warning strikes last year, and without any agreement reached with the government, the Lithuanian teachers decided to flex their muscles. On 22 February 2016, they kicked off an indefinite strike .

Indeed, the quality of the Lithuanian education system has been deteriorating. Last December 2015, ETUCE European Director Martin  Rømer, visited Lithuania where he met with representatives of ETUCE’s Lithuanian member organisations and members of the Lithuanian government. On this occasion, he  expressed his concerns about the current state of education in Lithuania.  He warned that if there was no significant change soon, ETUCE would address the International Labour Organisation (ILO) about the unacceptable working conditions of Lithuanian teachers as well as  the European Commission (EC) about the ineffective use of EU structural funds received by Lithuania for education.

In February, the Lithuanian unions asked the ETUCE Secretariat for support to back their fight. Then,  Martin Rømer issued a strong letter of support.

On 3 March the agreement was reached between four Trade Unions and the government including a salary raise for educators in general education as well as for newly qualified teachers. The agreement also established an increase of the severance pay fund for retiring teachers.

On 9 March the next round of negotiations started on possible further improvements in the education system.