Romanian Public Sector on Strike

resizer5Around 700,000 public servants launched a strike on Monday in protest at the government’s decision to cut salaries and jobs in the public sector.

Policemen, local authority workers, clerks, doctors, nurses, teachers, social-insurance personnel, public-finance clerks and prison guards have joined what has been called the largest protest in the last 80 years in Romania, Teachers’ Union leader Aurel Cornea said. Health sector personnel are only dealing with emergency and life-threatening cases.

On Monday, Finance Minister Gheorghe Pogea invited trade union leaders to talks, scheduled to start on October 6.

Unionists are threatening to call a general strike for an unlimited period if their demands are not met.

The unions are reacting to the passage last month of three key pieces of legislation, including a legal emendation to regulations governing public sector wages. The laws mandate pay cuts and the imposition of ten days of unpaid leave.

Romania is trying hard to reduce public spending, in an effort to speed IMF-prescribed reforms, linked to the receipt of a 20 billion euros aid package.

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