Teachers’ wage dispute causes government rift as Social Democrats accuse Labour Party of deceit

Algirdas Butkevičius
DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

“We’re holding a political council meeting and want to discuss two things with our partners, especially with the Labour Party. The education workers’ unions made demands, and on Friday, we decided with our colleagues to increase their wages by a total of €5 million by 1 August, but on Friday, we also saw that, after those negotiations, some members of the Labour Party had also registered a project obligating the government to find €17 million. This is not good,” said prime minister Algirdas Butkevičius after a Social Democrat council meeting on Monday.

He has also said that there are no plans to revise the state budget in order to meet teachers’ demands form more funding.

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“The other thing is the social model, so we would all finally be clear on it. They publicly speak of supporting it, but when it is discussed in committees, we see that some of the members of their faction have different positions,” the prime minister added.

According to him, the political council meeting will be held at 10:00 on Tuesday in the Seimas.

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Representatives of the Labour Party faction registered a project with the Seimas that suggests that the Government allocate €17.2 million for increasing teachers’ wages by August. The Ministry of Education and Science is headed by Audronė Pitrėnienė, who was appointed by the Labour Party. Vice-Chancellor of the Government Rimantas Vaitkus has said that the suggestion to raise teachers’ wages by revising the national budget is a pre-election ploy, since it was agreed not to reallocate the money for this purpose in the 2016 budget.

The Seimas elections will be held in October of this year.

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Some teachers throughout Lithuania began a strike this week to demand higher wages and more financing for education.

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