Lower wages for peacekeepers

  • 2000-09-07
VILNIUS (BNS) - The Lithu-anian government decided to reduce the wages of troops taking part in international peacekeeping operations, Aug. 30.

Until now Lithuanian soldiers participating in international training have received significantly higher salaries than they do when stationed in Lithuania.

Lina Lajauskiene, head of the Defense Ministry's Finance and Budget Department, said that under the new procedure, Lithuanian troops will be paid a set wage regardless of where they are serving, adding that soldiers on international operations will receive extra pay for specific types of service.

Lajauskiene said that the aim of the new scheme was to save money, because Lithuanian troops now receive more invitations to participate in international operations.

Troops' wages were first increased in 1994 in order to attract new recruits. This, Lajauskiene said, is no longer an issue because only professional soldiers take part in international exercises now.

"Troops going to international training sessions should be motivated by an opportunity to gain experience rather than high wages," said Lajauskiene.

Units sent on international operations usually number 35 members, Lajaus-kiene said.

The change in the payment procedure would save 270,000 litas ($67,500) during a six-month operation by such a detachment. Lithuania has sent three units annually on international exercises over the past three years, which means that up to one million litas a year will be saved.