The Ombudsman Juris Jansons appealed to the Constitutional Court with a claim to ensure an increase in the remuneration of doctors in accordance with the plan included in the Law on the State Budget.
The decision made in the Saeima a year and a half ago to increase the salaries of doctors this year envisaged to reserve at least 120 million euros this year, thus allowing to increase the salaries of those working in the sector by an average of 20%. However, the politicians did not provide the money to fulfill the promise, as a result of which only half of the necessary funds were found.
Last November, medical organizations gathered thousands in large-scale protests. In the opinion of the Ombudsman, the actions of the parliament are clearly illegal, because the Satversme stipulates – if the Saeima makes a decision related to budget expenditures, then the law must also provide for funds to cover these expenditures.
“I have used all the other intelligent, legal ways to convince politicians in government and parliament, and in fact, all possibilities have been exhausted. As an ombudsman, I have one last resort – to apply to the Constitutional Court, ”Jansons emphasizes.
Politicians could avoid the judgment by the Constitutional Court fully recognizing the arguments mentioned by the Ombudsman and fulfilling the given promise. In Janson’s view, excluding wage increases from the law would be irresponsible.
“It will be a formal action, they will take away the basis of their constitutional complaint, but it means that they are irresponsible. They are irresponsible to the public and especially to healthcare workers, ”the ombudsman points out.
Janson’s actions are praised by the Latvian Health and Social Care Workers’ Trade Union. Its head believes the government could look for the missing funds in funding for economic recovery after the Covid-19 crisis.
“There is more money today than ever before – more than two billion extra. If we can find airBaltic 280 million in one go, that’s not a bad thing, we don’t mind, but please, what the law guarantees for healthcare workers, at least the 44 million that are unfulfilled this year, but find them urgently, ”Calls Valdis Keris, the head of the Latvian Health and Social Care Workers’ Trade Union.
The head of the responsible Saeima commission is also satisfied with the Ombudsman’s actions and hopes that it will serve as an additional incentive to fulfill the promises given by the government and the Saeima in full.
However, he does not yet predict whether the funds could be taken from the money intended for the elimination of the consequences of Covid-19.