Latvia to allocate another EUR 18 million for medical workers’ wages next year

The government could allocate another EUR 18 million for increasing medical workers’ wages next year, including at the expense of postponing the opening of the Latvian Embassy in Australia, therefore a total of approximately EUR 60 million could be allotted for the purpose, government representatives told reporters after a meeting with physicians’ trade unions on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) said that the coalition partners had agreed on Monday that a total of EUR 60 million could be allocated from the 2020 budget for increasing medical workers’ wages. No tax changes will be necessary for this, instead, ministries’ spending projections will be revised, added Karins.

Health Minister Ilze Vinkele (For Development/For) also said that the coalition had agreed to put aside an extra EUR 60 million next year, so minimum wages in healthcare could be raised 10 percent next year.

The government originally planned to allocate EUR 120 million for increasing medical workers’ wages by about 20 percent next year.

Finance Minister Janis Reirs (New Unity) explained that the Finance Ministry was cooperating with other ministries and revising their budgets so an additional EUR 18 million could be allocated for healthcare personnel’s wages.

The government is planning to take part of the extra funds from the Foreign Ministry’s budget, which were meant for opening the embassy in Australia. This means that opening of the Latvian Embassy in Australia will be postponed indefinitely.

In addition, state companies will be requested to revise their dividend amounts, said Reirs.

“I hope that our compromise offer will not fall on deaf ears, while we, politicians, will learn a lesson that various figures laid down in laws and regulations have to be based on specific sources of financing,” said Vinkele.

As reported, a protest will be staged outside Saeima on November 7 as medical workers’ unions point out that EUR 42 million, earmarked in the 2020 budget for raising medical workers’ salaries, is incomparable with the government’s original promise to allot EUR 120 million for increasing medics’ wages.

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