Latvians are lazy and prefer to live off welfare benefits. To stay profitable, businesses must bring in workers from other countries. This is the rhetoric one frequently hears from Latvian politicians and businessmen. Re:Baltica undertook the task of clarifying why, given that the unemployment level is still high, businesses cannot find low-skilled workers. To understand the situation, Re:Baltica went out to work in a fish factory and a supermarket.
The investigative team. Gunita Gailāne (Re:Baltica) worked in the fish factory. Ilze Vēbere (freelance journalist) worked in the supermarket. The coordinator and head journalist for the investigation was Inga Spriņģe (Re:Baltica). Arta Ģiga, Sandijs Semjonovs and Arnis Krauze, all of TV3, created the video material. Financial calculations were done by Anna Zasova (BICEPS) and Peter Folkins. Visual design by Raivis Vilūns.
Attempts to take an acclaimed Latvian whistleblower to court more than three years after he released embarrassing tax details of the country's elite are raising serious questions about due legal process in the Baltic state.
One in six people of economically active working age cannot find a job in Latvia, yet business owners are still complaining about labour shortages. Apparently Latvians have got used to living off welfare and this is the reason why workers have to be brought in from other countries. Re:Baltica journalists experienced what it’s like to do unskilled labour to get a deeper understanding of what is really missing in Latvia — diligent employees or good jobs?
In the absence of any official confirmation, available evidence suggests that PrivatBank could be the Latvian bank fined by the Latvian Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) earlier this year for inadequate internal controls in the so-called Magnitsky case. The FCMC, however, refuses to reveal the identity of the sanctioned bank, citing the need to maintain financial stability.
The largest private employer in Latvia, the supermarket chain Maxima, is constantly looking for workers. The long and intensive work hours are only some of the reasons why people leave their jobs at this employer.
An aching back, cut fingers, and at least eight hours of monotonous work make up an ordinary day at the Gamma-A fish factory. The pay for a packed can is two santimes (2.8 euro cents).
The EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Laszlo Andor, in the interview with Re: Baltica pointed to weaknesses in the Latvian welfare system. He hopes that after the introduction of the euro, the government will focus on combating inequality.
The government is preparing to discuss adjustments to the social safety net policies after the World Bank released an extensive study on poverty and unemployment in Latvia.
An article in response to the critique made by Oļegs Krasnopjorovs, economist at the Bank of Latvia. Republished from the magazine IR.
The harder the financial situation, the more people are willing to risk ending up in jail to improve it. A prospect of earning about five thousand or more dollars in one day – that is the payment for delivering a package of cocaine on a plane - outweigh the fear of going behind bars for five or more years.