Thousands of teachers went on strike in the Eastern European country of Latvia on Thursday. The strike was over the lack of funding to schools, particularly small schools and nurseries and the resultant low pay of Latvian teachers. 

A spokesperson for the teachers' trade union said that the protest was not just about money, it was about the government's attitude to teachers and education. However at the heart of the problem is the Latvian government's commitment to austerity, initially at the behest of the International Monetary Fund, which became involved when the country suffered as a result of the global financial crisis. Analysts say the result has been a huge reduction of the population as young people leave the country in the hundreds of thousands looking for work. Moreover, the decision of the country to join the Euro currency union has set it on the path to permanent austerity, according to the same sources.

Thursday's strike was supported across all education sectors in Latvia, including higher education and was particularly strong amongst early years teachers. Health workers are also expected to take action.