ETUCE together with its social partner, the European Federation of Education Employers (EFFEE), organized a round table meeting in Riga to discuss with the Latvian education social partners the need to develop their social dialogue and to strengthen their ties with the European sectoral social dialogue in education (ESSDE). ETUCE used the opportunity to encourage the Latvian education social partners to raise the level of their commitment both at national and European level.

The event was part of a series of meetings within the current project led by ETUCE on social dialogue capacity building. This important topic is included in the ESSDE work program as a continuous task. During the last two years, similar meetings have taken place in Cyprus, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, the Slovak Republic, Lithuania and Montenegro. More meetings in other EU countries are already planned to take place during the next months.

ETUCE's  Latvian member organization LIZDA represents the interests of about 27.000 members from all levels of education. For more than a year, the teachers' union has been fighting for an improved salary system and hopes to bring the process onto a new course of action. Only two months ago LIZDA and the Ministry signed an Agreement on cooperation. The agreement could be seen as the re-establishment of the Latvian education social partnership which now needs to be filled with life.

Lizda and Ministry representatives have used the opportunity to be remarkably open about their expectations in their future dialogue. LIZDA President Inga Vanaga emphasized that she would finally like to see a positive development and to achieve social guarantees for teachers.  She suggested to organize follow-up activities on this issue. She also raised the hope that the round table meeting would mark another step towards an improved social dialogue.

The meeting proved a success. It underlined the necessity for the Latvian social partners to continue this dialogue on a regular basis and to gather around the table to discuss issues of joint concern. ETUCE and EFEE expressed their satisfaction with the course of the meetings The next opportunity to build on and consolidate these results will be the project conference in Amsterdam in June when education social partners from all EU member states will get the opportunity to exchange knowledge and best practices in the functioning of social dialogue.