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The medical union does not come to the ministry’s compromise negotiations; warning strike will take place / Article & More Latest News Here

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Representatives from LVSADA, Latvian Association of Doctors, Association of Young Doctors of Latvia, Association of Latvian Nurses, Association of Latvian Hospitals, Association of Large Hospitals of Latvia, Association of Latvian Family Doctors, Association of Latvian Rural Family Physicians, Professional Association of Latvian Doctors unions of organizations and organizations of Health Care Employers.

LVSADA did not come to Thursday’s meeting, therefore the ministry has again invited the trade union to negotiations on September 23 at 12:00.

LVSADA chairman Valdis Keris stated that he has not received an invitation to continue strike negotiations or an invitation to agree on a compromise.

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The invitation was only for a conversation, which would be a waste of time, Keris stated on Latvian Television’s program “Rīta Panorāma” on Thursday that funding for salary increases has not been offered so far and that the new salary model for certain medical personnel even means a salary reduction.

Keris said: “Where until now the average salary of nursing assistants was projected against the average salary of a doctor by a factor of 0.4 or 40%, this is supposed to worsen in the model to 0.29% and this is incomprehensible and demotivating and degrading to both nursing assistants , and against the drivers of the Emergency Medical Service, who are in the same qualification category.”

The Ministry of Health stated that, when discussing the announced warning strike of medical personnel, industry organizations emphasized that doctors’ opinions on participating in it are divided. At the same time, the organizations recognized that everyone employed in the industry would like clarity on long-term pay increases.

The conceptual approval of the new remuneration model and the necessary funding until 2027 – 335 million euros – is to be evaluated positively. However, industry professionals expect that the necessary funding will be allocated to the health sector during the adoption of state budgets for 2023 and subsequent years.

The Association of Large Hospitals of Latvia and the Association of Young Doctors of Latvia have no significant objections to the new remuneration model. The model envisages a gradual increase in wages over the next five years. However, the specific salary schedule with specific amounts was withdrawn shortly before it was approved.

The chairman of the Association of Large Hospitals of Latvia, Imants Paeglītis, stated: “The big uncertainty is how much these promised or implemented increases are, how predictable and planable they will be in the long term. At the moment, it looks like the industry will have to fight every year to achieve some kind of salary increase for doctors. “

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Association of Young Doctors of Latvia, Artūrs Šilovs, noted: “Anyway, we will have to go to the streets every year, and I think that this is the message and a signal to our colleagues that, unfortunately, we are there and we will have to go and fight every year.”

This means that although salary increases are described in the salary model, funding will have to be re-allocated every year.

Minister of Health Daniels Pavlyuts (“For Development/For!”) explained: “This model describes how much money will be needed for doctors’ salaries, but the Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister were not ready to make promises 5 years ahead with specific amounts.”

Minister of Health on the salary model

However, LVSADA emphasized that the strike was not called only because of the new salary model. Its goal is to increase the average guaranteed salary set last year by 10% for doctors in all qualification groups. According to the trade union’s calculations, it would require 30 million euros from the budget.

Keris expressed: “They found 60 million for teachers, we are happy about it. (..) But with regard to doctors, we see that the government is simply lying about the fact that the demand cannot be fulfilled due to lack of money.”

The ministry replied that the funding for the next year should be allocated to the new government after the elections.

For the implementation of the new remuneration model, a working group has been established, whose task is to evaluate the results of the pilot project of the new remuneration model. By the end of this year, it is planned to develop a regulatory framework, incorporating the content of the full-time equivalent and the basic principles of its formation, determining the average target salary for each qualification category of medical personnel and the variable part of the salary.

The Association of Large Hospitals of Latvia and the Association of Young Doctors of Latvia indicated that wider protests could be expected after the elections.

Artūrs Šilovs, chairman of the Association of Young Doctors of Latvia, on the demands of the strike

According to current estimates, around 300 medics could participate in the warning strike next week.

CONTEXT:

LVSADA decided to hold a warning strike on September 27 and 28. Simultaneously with the strike, they plan to protest in front of the Cabinet of Ministers on September 27.

On August 23 last year, LVSADA submitted two strike claims to the Ministry of Health, demanding an increase in wages for health workers. Such a step was taken because the trade union believed that it was not possible to prevent the ministry’s discriminatory attitude towards the lower paid employees of the health care industry. It therefore called for a 5% increase in average pay for non-medical support staff each year until 2024.

On the other hand, the second requirement was to raise the average salary for medical professionals by 10% every year until 2024.

LVSADA stated that in order for the salary of doctors to grow at the same level as the salary increase in the country, no less than 75 million euros are needed. The trade union reached a conceptual agreement in negotiations with the Ministry of Health that in 2022 the average wage in the part of the tariffs is increased by 10% for all medical personnel. However, in the next year’s budget, the government decided to allocate 35 million euros for the salary increase of medical personnel. Therefore, the trade union made a decision to hold a health sector warning strike and protest action in front of the Ministry of Interior building on July 27.

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