News2019.10.29 14:05

Education minister promises 9-percent teacher pay rise amid strike threats

The Lithuanian government's 2020 budget bill, in its current form, would allow increasing teachers' salaries by 9.2 percent, according to Education Minister Algirdas Monkevičius.

“The bill we have tabled provides for a pay rise of over 9 percent for teachers, which does not satisfy me in the current situation, but I cannot generate revenue [out of nothing],” the minister told MPs on Tuesday.

Monkevičius met with the conservative Homeland Union–Lithuanian Christian Democrats' political group in the Seimas to discuss funding for the education system. Representatives of two education sector trade unions were also present at the meeting.

The government proposes to increase the Education Ministry's budget to almost 1.28 billion euros next year, from over 1.237 billion euros this year.

However, teachers expected the budget to be increased by almost 118 million euros, as provided for in a collective agreement that was signed in 2017 and revised last July.

One of the teachers' unions has threatened to go on strike over what it says is a breach of the deal, but the government insists the agreed changes to the agreement have no effect until approved by the Finance Ministry and the entire Cabinet.

The Education Ministry registered a draft government resolution on October 1, authorizing it to sign the updated collective agreement with new commitments. The Cabinet has not yet discussed the document.

A teachers' trade union accuses the government of failure to deliver on its promises and threatens to go on strike in late November if the education budget is not revised during parliamentary debates.

Read more: Teachers threaten to strike, accusing Lithuanian government of breaking agreement

Eugenijus Jovaiša, chairman of the Seimas Committee on Education and Science, has sided with the trade union, tabling a proposal to allocate an additional 70 million euros for the education sector in next year's budget.

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