Latvija in brief - 2012-03-15

  • 2012-03-14

More than one-third, or 37 percent of Latvia’s residents say they would not mind taking a job without signing an official contract, according to a poll carried out by the Association of Latvian Free Unions, reports LETA. One of the reasons for this is respondents’ insufficient knowledge about the importance of a job contract: each fourth, or 26 percent of respondents said that a contract was just a formality, the association’s representative Liena Muraskina said. However, 63 percent said that they would not take a job without a contract. In order to educate the current and potential job seekers about their rights and labor protection matters, the association is launching an information campaign, urging residents to make more use of free consultations in order to solve their problems at work. The poll also shows that employees are often prepared to not use their rights; for instance, 63 percent said they used to work longer hours for no extra pay, while 39 percent said they would be prepared to not take their annual vacation. This means that employees carry an increasingly heavy burden, which affects the quality of their lives as well as their relations with the employer, emphasizes the association. The campaign features an interactive quiz on workers’ rights, interviews with consultant Kaspars Racenajs on Radio SWH, and open house events at the association’s consultation centers in regions. The poll was carried out by the research center SKDS in February and November last year.

The trial of Latvia-born Dutch citizen Roberts Mikelsons, accused of sexually abusing 67 children and making child pornography, started March 12, reports Dutch radio. Mikelsons, 28, has confessed to sexual abuse of 83 children. However, due to lack of evidence and at the request of some parents, the prosecutor dropped twenty cases, and thus Mikelsons will be tried for sexually abusing 67 children. The accused child molester was detained Dec. 7 last year. He confessed to the police of having sexually abused dozens of children. Mikelsons worked in several Amsterdam kindergartens from February 2007 to January 2010 and also hired himself out as a babysitter, thus gaining access to his victims. The local prosecutor’s office says that Mikelsons chose young children because they were not able to tell anyone about his crimes. In many cases, Mikelsons abused the children together with other pedophiles. Whenever Mikelsons had to baby-sit the children, he always took a camera and lubricant with him. Mikelsons became a Dutch citizen when he married Richard van Olffen in 2004.