Teachers in Latvia are highly qualified and dedicated professionals, but they earn much less that the Latvian average. The Cabinet agreed to deliver a fair salary increase in 2018, but the current draft of the 2020 budget does not provide funding to implement this pay rise.

Decent salaries are vital if Latvia wants an attractive teaching profession which attracts and retains talented staff.

ETUCE is supporting the Latvian member organisation LIZDA in its fight for a fair pay rise for teachers. Salary levels for teachers in the country are unsustainably low, and the situation is urgent. Data from the Latvian Central Statistics Bureau show that the average monthly gross salary for a full-time job in 2018 in Latvia was €1004. In the education sector the average monthly gross salary is just €823, almost 20% less.

Indeed, in 2018 the Cabinet of Ministers recognised the problem and agreed to increase the lowest monthly salary for a teacher from €750 to €790. They also committed to a 10% increase for academic personnel in higher education institutions. Both changes were foreseen for 2020, but the proposed state budget for 2020 does not include the necessary funding to support these already approved increases.

The slogan of World Teachers Day 2019 was “Young Teachers: The Future of the Profession”. We remind the Latvian government that teaching professionals are a vital cornerstone of society. A strong teaching profession builds the future for us all – teachers, students and society. But unattractive working conditions and salaries undermine recruitment and retention, creating chaos for schools and students.

We stand with LIZDA in calling on the Government of Latvia to respect the existing legal Schedule for a teachers’ pay rise and guarantee its implementation in the state budget. We will continue to monitor the situation.