Romanian Postal Workers Strike Over Cutbacks

Over 1,500 postal workers in Bucharest have staged a walk-out over planned cuts in their working hours and salaries as the government tries to slim down and sell off the service.“People are disappointed by the new working contract which plans to halve the number of working hours for many employees. As a result, they will get only around 120 euro per month,” said the postal service employees’ trade union leader Cristian Iancu.

Iancu added that the protest, which started in Bucharest, would be soon joined by other postal workers across Romania.

In the battle to further reduce public spending, the Romanian government decided earlier this year to shed up to 1,600 jobs in the public sector as part of larger reforms agreed by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

Since January 2010, the number of jobs in the Romanian public sector has fallen by 180,000 as part of a drive to meet the terms of the IMF and EU’s 20 billion euro loan.

In March, around 600 postal workers out of a total of 5,835 lost their jobs. The remaining workforce is to be cut even further, while many of the service’s staff will be allowed to work only four or six hours a day.

The state-owned Posta Romania (Romanian Post) is the holder of the largest network of postal service distribution offices in Romania.

In 2011, it reported over 43.1 million euro in losses, 50.1 per cent more than in the previous year, according to the country’s finance ministry.

With plans for the privatisation of the company underway, the government is seeking to make Posta Romana attractive for potential investors.

A 51 per cent stake in the postal service is up for grabs and companies can participate individually or as a consortium.

Entry to the bid requires proof of financial resources for a cash capital contribution of at least 150 million euro.

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