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2019.08.30 09:39

Lithuania's only woman in cabinet outlines her priorities as interior minister

Saulius Jakučionis, BNS2019.08.30 09:39

Lithuania's new Interior Minister Rita Tamašunienė says closing the pay gap among statutory services will be among her priorities next year. She also plans changes to policies concerning migrant workers.

“To level out the existing pay imbalances among statutory services, major attention will be paid to officers from the Fire and Rescue Department and firefighters' teams at the municipal level, as well as officers from the State Border Guard Service. They earn the least,” the minister said in an interview with BNS on Thursday.

Representing the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance, Tamašunienė also expressed her doubts over possibilities to reach the goal of having police officers earn at least €1,000 per month next year.

“Top-level officers already earn singnificantly above €1,000. This pledge, we can say, has already been implemented, but that depends on how you look at it. One can take a lowest-earner and there's no €1,000 there,” Tamašunienė said.

The minister also said she was considering to restrict the posting of workers from other countries to Lithuania to make sure that workers are officially employed in Lithuania and pay taxes here.

“We're beginning to see labour shortages and employers are raising the question of how to speed up the processes of issuing seasonal work permits to Ukrainians and Belarusians who are interested in those kinds of jobs,” Tamašunienė said. “We are planning to cut the time of processing work permit applications, but put more responsibility on employers for their workers.”

Tamašunienė is currently the only female minister in the Lithuanian government. Women, she said, “can work all kinds of jobs and we should do away with stereotypical thinking in our society”.

However, when asked if she would support gender quotas for government posts, Tamašunienė said she would not. “I think that a position should go to the person who is best suited for it at that moment. Gender, in my view, should not be the main criterion,” she said.