Romania - Protests against cuts in pay and benefits - May 23, 2010

The government has announced that it wants to make deep cuts in public spending in 2011 to avoid having to call on the IMF (International Monetary Fund) for further loans. Resulting from the letter of intent between the IMF and the government, the total public sector pay bill should be cut by 25% from 1 June 2010 on, the minimum wage also by 25%, and pensions and unemployment benefits both by 15%. In the list of government proposals are also the firing of 250,000 people, the closing of 200 hospitals and scores of schools, and the “flexibility” of the Labor Code in order to facilitate the massive layoffs. The first to take the streets were pensioners, on 12 May. On 17 May they were followed by mothers with babies, who will see their maternity benefits cut by 25%. A protest on 19 May organised by the main five union confederations according to the organizers brought 70,000 people in front of the government building in Bucharest. Four major unions have issued warnings for a general strike beginning 31 May. The five confederations proposed a package of measures that would reduce the social effects of the crisis, among other things the establishment of the minimum wage of 705 lei as a measure to reduce tax evasion.



This article was published in the Collective Bargaining Newsletter. It aims to facilitate information exchange between trade unions and to support the work of ETUC's collective bargaining committee. For more information, please contact the editor Maarten van Klaveren, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) You may find further information on the ETUI, and on the AIAS at © ETUI aisbl, Brussels 2009.

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