Teachers’ strike continues but talks stop

DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

On Wednesday, negotiations ended without agreement, although the teachers lowered their demands on pay increases this year, saying that the government needed to allocate an extra €12 million to teachers’ salaries from September rather than the €18 million originally demanded.

The Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius was said to have cast doubt on whether the coalition partners will be able to meet again this week to move the negotiations ahead.

Teachers’ unions started an open-ended strike on Monday in about a tenth of the country’s schools – their demands include better pay and education reform.

Government vice-chancellor Rimantas Vaitkus told reporters after the meeting yesterday that teachers had lowered their demands, but meeting them would still require revisions to the national budget.

The ruling parties were to meet to discuss options for that this week before talks resume next Monday, according to Vaitkus.

“The unions have presented a new set of demands that are smaller than before, but still not a set that the government could meet with available budgets. The political council will decide whether the budget will be revised or not,” Vaitkus said.

“Our demand is to give a 5% raise to all teachers this September, which would cost the government a little less. This is our main object of talks,” said Eugenijus Jesinas, president of the Lithuanian Education Institutions Union.

He also said that Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius had offered his apologies for earlier statements accusing teachers’ unions of ties with Russia.

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