Trade union says frozen wages will mean 'chaos'

  • 2008-09-05
  • TBT Staff

Trade unions have had extensive discussions with the government over wage hikes (Photo courtesy of LBAS)

RIGA - The head of the Free Trade Union Confederation (LBAS) of Latviahas said that a government decision to freeze wages will result in "chaos" anda "very serious crisis."

In an interview with the "900 seconds" news program on LNT,LBAS Chairman Peteris Krigers said that "doctors, teachers and policemen havenowhere to go."

"With this decision, the government has put an end to thesocial dialogue, as social partners were not informed about this step, and wedo not know how to continue negotiations with the government," Krigers said. 

Krigers accused the government of violating the constitutionwith the decision, along with a number of laws, and tripartite agreementsstruck between the government, employers and trade unions.

On Thursday, the Cabinet decided to freeze all wage growthnext year and force ministries to ct spending by more that 10 percent in aneffort to help balance the budget. 

The LBAS chairman also said, however, that the union waswilling to give the government another chance to call off their decision andreturn to the negotiating table. He said the union was prepared to resume talksif the government recalled its decision in a scheduled Tuesday meeting.

"We are living in a democratic country and can sit down at anegotiation table in a civilized way," Krigers was quoted by The Baltic NewsService as saying.

Health Minister Ivars Eglitis, meanwhile, said that thedemands being made by health care workers were reasonable and grounded,ostensibly agreeing with the trade union on the issue.

In an interview with the Latvian state television program"Labrit Latvija," the minister said that he was "concerned about the humanresources in the health care sector."

"Although this time we are defending opposite views, we [thehealth minister and the unions] have the same goals," he said.