Romanian unions reject austerity plan

Labour unions on Monday (May 17th) rejected a government plan that envisions cutting salaries in the public sector by 25%, and pensions by 15%. During a meeting with government officials and business representatives, unions called for a compromise, warning that without one, about 40,000 workers will stage a general strike today.

They insist that the government renegotiate the terms of its agreement with the IMF to avoid the sharp austerity measures in the public sector. Finance Minister Sebastian Vladescu countered by saying that cuts might affect various personnel differently, but all would proceed, due to legislation that has already been adopted.

Meanwhile, around 200 mothers — with their babies — joined a demonstration in Bucharest on Monday against the expected 25% cut in benefits, which extends to paid maternity leave.

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