Labour Minister stated on Wednesday that if the employees in the Health system are dissatisfied by the Pay Law, she is waiting them to have a talk at the ministry, adding that the salaries are miscalculated by the HR Departments, because they misinterpret the law.
“If the employees in the Health system are dissatisfied too, I don’t know what to say, because you know very well what salary increases are there. We had a lot of talks with those in the Health system, and the conclusion was that the Health Ministry will issue a regulation of increases together with the unions, I don’t know what happened meanwhile, but it is mandatory to be ready by March. If they have any claim, we are waiting for them at the ministry, we will talk with them, and they know that every time when they talked with us, their problems were solved. The proof is the GEO 91 issued in December. In fact, I want to tell you that whenever an ambiguity is found, when a problem occurs, it seems normal to me that they should address directly to the Labour Ministry, which now includes Social Dialogue too, in order to solve all these problems at the green table, because today we have seen, after we met the registrars, that what we estimated yesterday is exactly as we expected to be, namely their salaries are miscalculated by the HR Departments and the law is misinterpreted” Vasilescu stated at the Parliament regarding the employees in the Health system, who claim that their salaries have been decreased.
She mentioned that she asked the representatives of the ministry to meet the representatives of the Courts of Appeal, so that a rule to clarify the law in the matter of the auxiliary staff in the courts will be drafted.
“I asked today our representatives to meet the representatives of the Courts of Appeal together with a representative of the Justice Ministry, so this evening we will have a clarifying rule which we will post on the Ministry’s website to solve this situation once for all, a situation which, I say it one more time, is not caused by the law, salaries do not decrease because of the law, somebody just simply miscalculated them and maybe that person should assume responsibility” Lia Olguta Vasilescu said.
The Labour Minister added that more than 90% of the employees are satisfied with their salaries.
“Bring the payroll and let’s see who is fooled, let’s see from where his salary is decreasing, because it seems to me you feel so pity for those having high salaries. This was the only way to adjust certain salaries in order to balance the system and reach a 1 to 12 ratio. I think that more than 90% of them are satisfied, of course there is a big scandal for 3%, not to mention that for some of them, today was demonstrated in practice, the salary was miscalculated by their HR Departments, and not because of the law” Vasilescu stated.
“Salaries cannot drop strictly due to contributions’ transfer”
Salaries cannot decrease strictly because of the contributions’ transfer, however, as far as public managers are concerned, there will be salary reductions in all institutions, Labour and Social Justice Minister Lia-Olguta Vasilescu told a press conference on Tuesday.
“When the Tax Code was being worked upon, several options were taken into consideration, one referred to a decrease of the contributions from 39.25 percent to 35 percent, a measure that was reconsidered upon negotiations with the trade unions, which requested that the employer also remain with a contribution representing the guarantee fund of the wages claims, medical leaves and labour accidents, this being one of the causes that led to the fact that the net of employees in the private milieu is not increasing as much as we had estimated. We signal that there where the state has the power to intervene at the minimum wages without barriers, it has done that, so that the employee’s net for the minimum wages increased by 9.1 percent and the gross wage by 31 percent. As a conclusion, salaries cannot drop strictly because of the contributions’ transfer,” Vasilescu said.
The trade union leaders announced that the net salaries of employees will drop in several areas of activity, namely in the Health, Culture, Police and Gendarmerie ones.
Social security contributions switched from employers to employees starting January 1, 2018, according to a November 2017 Emergency Ordinance amending the Tax Code.
Reactions to the salary drops
Ludovic Orban: Starting today, any employee in Romania can sue the Government
The National Liberal Party (PNL) Chairman Ludovic Orban stated on Wednesday that any employee in Romania can sue the Government and ask for his health contributions to be paid, mentioning that there are dangers that risk “to deepen” if the “populist-electoral” policy “will continue”.
“They issued a GEO to pay health contributions to the state budget, it is an unimaginable ineptitude violating any fiscal rule and principle. Starting today, any employee in Romania can sue the Government and ask for his health contributions to be paid. (…) It is a generalized chaos in all the private systems” PNL Chair Ludovic Orban stated.
Ludovic Orban said that there are dangers that risk “to deepen” if the “populist-electoral” policy will continue.
“The great imbalances that were caused in the economy risk to affect every business and every citizen, these are imbalances caused by misunderstanding the market economy. The only tool used by this Government was the increase of the demand by increasing salaries and pensions with no correspondent in the economic reality and with no correspondent in the real potential of increasing the volume of products and services that can be produced by the domestic economy. All the major imbalances came from here” Orban stated.
The PNL leader criticized the Labour Minister’s attitude towards the businessmen.
“The Labour Minister threatened the businessmen, the companies, saying that she will send ITMs (Territorial Labour Inspectorate – e.n.) and ITMs will force them to amend the labour agreements, as if the companies are guilty if they don’t have the necessary resources to renegotiate the labour agreements and to increase the gross salary. Which is the country in this world where a Government and a ministry afford to threat companies because they don’t execute the political order per unit issued by a ruling political party?! (…) The representatives of the trade unions, after the Minister, will become cops and whistlers to indicate the companies that don’t increase the gross salaries so that the net salary will be the same, in the circumstances in which the huge chaos on the labour market is only the result of the incapacity to predict and of the improvisations made by the Government” the PNL leader said.
Orban stated that there is no sign that the PSD-ALDE Government intends to change the way of governing.
“If we, as a country, don’t make the decision to assume the objective of adopting the Euro, and especially to start implementing the convergence program, in my opinion, we risk to enter not in the second, but in the third speed, to become a periphery of Europe. (…) I don’t see any concern to solve the major crises in the public systems: education, health, administration, citizen safety” the PNL Chairman Ludovic Orban added.
The PNL Chair claimed that there are several “clock bombs” that the Government “primes” such as the Sovereign Investment Fund, mentioning that this is a “party money box”.
He reiterated that if Constitution will be amended, Emergency Ordinances should be banned.
Head of Senate’s Economic Committee Citu: We are inviting LabMin to explain adopted measures next week
President of the Economic Committee of the Senate Florin Citu on Wednesday announced that he will invite Labour Minister Olguta Vasilescu to present the adopted measures to this forum next week.
“I will invite the Labour Minister, Olguta Vasilescu, to the Economic Committee, next week. She made that statement yesterday saying that he wish to (…) push things up, to intervene in the relation between the employer and employee and send the Territorial Labour Inspectorate (ITM) to control the trade unions too. As far as I see things, she will also send the control body to the ANAF (Fiscal Authority) too, to send them in jail. (…) I will invite her to the Committee to explain what is it that she intends to do. This is an unqualifiable statement to make in 2018. You cannot adopt such attitude against the private sector,” said Florin Citu, during a debate entitled “A year lost for Romania/2018, solutions to Romanians’ problems,” organized by PNL in Parliament.
Florin Citu specified that he will asks Olguta Vasilescu to justify the manner in which she is going to tax part-time agreements.
“The reason for the invitation (i.e. to the Committee) are her statements and actions, what happened so far, for she endangers economic stability. It is now the time for her to explain what she had in mind with all these measures, how she justifies this taxation of part-time labour agreements and to explain what will be the impact of these measures on our economy. Personally, I am worried first of all of her attitude towards the private sector, for it seems like they need a scapegoat for what happens in Romania today,” concluded the Liberal.
USR: Lia Olguta Vasilescu must pay the bill for the Pay Law by resigning
Save Romania Union (USR) is asking the resignation of the Labour Minister Lia Olguta Vasilescu, for the inequities caused by the Pay Law, saying that she refused to assume this project and passed the responsibility to the Parliament, according to a press release.
“February brought the bill for the Pay Law, a law whose de facto author is Lia Olguta Vasilescu. However, the law was adopted without substantiated calculations and analyzes, since the Labour Minister doesn’t even know how many employees are in the budget sector, or what salaries they have. In these circumstances, the inequities indicated these days by the trade unions and employers are not surprising at all” stated the USR Chairman Dan Barna, according to the quoted document.
The Union claims that Lia Olguta Vasilescu refused to organize a real debate on this project that required an agreement between trade unions and employers, as well as between all the parliamentary parties.
“Besides, the Labour Minister didn’t assume this law, passing the responsibility to the Parliament, where the draft was debated in emergency procedure. It is unacceptable that the Labour Minister says today that the representatives of the trade unions and of the employers had no complaint until now, related to the discriminatory provisions of the Pay Law, and that there was no warning that salaries will decrease for certain categories of state employees, such as the registrars or the IT employees in the judiciary. Instead of finally sitting at the table of debates and negotiations, Mrs. Lia Olguta Vasilescu started a war of statements with the trade unions and employers, which will have consequences on the entire labour market” the party claims.
USR believes that the problems caused by the Pay Law have been compounded by GEO 79, which includes the transfer of the contributions from the employer to the employee, and that the PSD-ALDE majority must be accountable for this chaos.
To this end, the USR parliamentarians will propose amendments to the GEO 79, in order to correct the measures adopted by PSD-ALDE.