19 Oktoober 2008
Until 2007, Latvia had two sugar refineries – the Liepāja Sugar Refinery (Liepājas Cukurfabrika) in western Latvia and the Jelgava Sugar Refinery (Jelgavas Cukurfabrika) in central Latvia. As EU Sugar Law became applicable in Latvia, it regulated the relations of sugar refineries and farmers and provided subsidies for sugar manufacturers. Owing to the favourable conditions, Latvian farmers were eager to grow sugar beet, transferring their produce to the country’s sugar refineries for processing, while the sugar manufacturing costs and sales prices continued to grow.
13 Oktoober 2008
The minimum wage in Latvia is determined by the Republic of Latvia Cabinet of Ministers (Ministru kabinets ) on the basis of a proposal by the Ministry of Welfare (Labklājības Ministrija, LM ). Efforts by the trade unions have ensured that a minimum wage increase has become an issue of top priority of social dialogue  in Latvia (*LV0707029I* , *LV0702019I* ).  http://www.mk.gov.lv/en/?lang=1  http://www.lm.gov.lv  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/industrial-relations-dictionary/social-dialogue  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/social-partners-agree-on-minimum-wage-increase  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/rise-in-minimum-wage-and-tax-free-threshold
13 Oktoober 2008
Negotiations between the Latvian social partners on procedures for issuing work incapacity certificates and the responsibility of employers regarding payment of sickness benefits began in 2006. In accordance with existing laws, sickness benefits in the event of temporary work incapacity are paid for by employers from company funds for the period from the second to the 15th day of illness, and by the state social budget for the rest of the period. The first day of sickness is paid for by the employee.
13 Oktoober 2008
The spiritual care network of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia (Latvijas Evaņģēliski luteriskās baznīcas, LELB ) covers the entire country. More than 300 Lutheran congregations are currently active in Latvia. The church ensures that each congregation is served by an ordained pastor.  http://www.lelb.lv/en/
06 Oktoober 2008
Employers have been trying for a number of years to persuade the government that the national economy is experiencing a labour shortage and that the provisions for hiring migrant workers are disadvantageous. In 2006 and 2007, when the labour market situation was extremely strained, the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia (Latvijas Darba Devēju Konfederācija, LDDK ) engaged in a dialogue with the government to discuss practical conditions for workforce migration (*LV0710039I* ). The comparisons used during the talks showed that more cost-effective solutions apply in Estonia and Lithuania with regard to hiring migrant workers from other countries.  http://www.lddk.lv  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/employers-call-for-less-restrictive-immigration-laws
07 September 2008
Latvia values teaching qualifications very highly and upholds strict requirements. Since 2004, an amendment to Latvia’s Education Law stipulates that all teachers, including preschool instructors, must have third-level qualifications (LV0409102F ). Nonetheless, this requirement challenged the country’s capacities in teaching personnel, as many qualified teachers no longer worked in education due to the restructuring and low wages of the 1990s. As a result, a transition period was introduced which allowed students approaching the end of their third-level studies to work in schools.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/new-rules-introduced-on-teachers-pay-and-qualifications
01 September 2008
Healthcare workers have not been able to reach agreement with the Ministry of Health (Veselības ministrija ) on funding for the sector. Medical workers are unhappy with their current wage levels, procedures for calculating wages and poor work conditions. In 2007, the Health and Social Care Workers’ Trade Union (Latvijas Veselības un sociālās aprūpes darbinieku arodbiedrība, LVSADA ) sued the state for alleged breaches of procedure in calculating wages (*LV0712019I* ). The administrative courts at three levels have heard the applications and rejected them.  http://www.vm.gov.lv/  http://www.lvsada.lv/?sub=107  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/health-workers-union-sues-government
07 August 2008
The collection of signatures on the right of the electorate to dissolve Latvia’s parliament (Saeima) began after the trade unions failed to reach agreement with the government on maintaining social dialogue on issues of public importance. Moreover, the government ignored trade union demands with regard to the social partners’ participation in the state budget approval process, setting wages for employees of public sector organisations – such as schools and healthcare institutions – and guarantees to increase these wages. The country’s continued unstable economic situation and the government’s arrogance increased public support for the mass protests organised by the trade unions in the autumn of 2007 and the complex procedures required to amend laws relating to voter initiatives (*LV0710029I* ).  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/trade-unions-threaten-to-dissolve-parliament-over-state-of-economy
31 Märts 2008
The idea of employing prisoners has been discussed in Latvia for several years, not least due to increasing labour market demand. In March 2007, the country held more than 6,000 people in prison, 4,500 of whom had been convicted of a crime, while the remainder were awaiting the conclusion of their trial process. Approximately 30% of convicted persons are employed. More specifically, almost all of the convicts held in more open-style prisons were working, in addition to about 16% of those held in closed prisons and semi-closed type prisons. Open and semi-closed prisons have more relaxed policies regarding family visits, for example.
16 Märts 2008
Following the resignation of Latvia’s government in December 2007, the trade unions were quick to remind the new government ministers about their demands. In contrast to the previous administration, the new ministers have been listening to the trade unions’ demands and agreements have been reached in the healthcare sector and in relation to social dialogue.