Government mulls freezing all state salaries, sources say

The government is preparing an emergency ordinance to freeze any salary increases for all categories of state employees, according to TV reports yesterday, quoting sources from the government. The executive held its weekly session yesterday instead of Wednesday, with topics such as swine flu prevention measures, reinforcement of buildings likely to collapse in case of an earthquake on the agenda, along with other economic issues.

Realitatea TV reported, quoting government sources that under such an ordinance, no category of state employees, not even teachers, will get any raises this year. The report was made public while the government’s session was still ongoing. No further information appeared by the time ‘Nine O’Clock’ went to print.

Minister of Rural Development Vasile Blaga refused to confirm or deny the reports, saying only that such issue was not on the agenda of the government’s session.

The news however triggered a flurry of criticism among trade unionists. Cartel Alfa trade union leader Petru Dandea told Antena 3 that such an action would be unprecedented.

In case the government passes this ordinance, Dandea said he would suggest to his fellow unionists to completely “suspend any dialogue with the current government”.

The executive president of Spiru Haret Federation, Marius Nistor, also said that such an action would trigger a radical response from unions. “Teachers will boycott national examinations and will prepare a general strike,” he said.

About two weeks ago, Prime Minister Emil Boc said that “luxury state employees” salaries would be frozen, but he promised salary raises for state employees who have small or average wages, of under RON 1,700. Boc’s cabinet says it has insufficient funds, not even to increase small salaries.

Currently, it is not known whether such a salary freeze would be enforced for the entire year, as it is possible that this restriction be only applied for the next three months, according to the same sources.

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