RIGA - Latvian Interior Minister Mareks Seglins has said that the ongoing negotiations between the government and trade unions over the possibility of a wage hike in 2009 was only leading to "false hope."
Seglins told the Baltic News Service that the Interior Ministry was struggling over a round of layoffs and that wage hikes were out of the question.
"I do not understand why people are being fooled and why they are givensuch false hopes. When this door [of the Cabinet of Ministers] is closed,all the talk is about layoffs [of police, doctors, teachers]," the minister said.
"The war, the struggle is to avoid the sacking of policemen. There is noquestion about any wage increases. The question is about how many peoplewill have to be fired. In my opinion, nobody is talking about any payrises in this country -- this story was over about a month ago. Thequestion is about reducing the layoffs of policemen, firefighters andborder guards to the minimum with the existing financing for the InteriorMinistry," he said.