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February 4, 2023

Trade unionists stage protest rally at PSD, PDL headquarters

Some 150 members of trade unions from the public sector on Wednesday staged a protest at the headquarter of the Democrat-Liberal Party in Bucharest, while another 50 did the same at the headquarter of the Social-Democrat Party, in a move against the blanket salary Law and the decision forcing all civil servants to take ten days of unpaid leave this year.

“We oppose the ten days of leave and the blanket salary law. We warn that, if we go on general strike, it is the population that will suffer,” said Vasile Marica, leader of the SED LEX National Alliance of Civil Servants. According to the leader, the ruling parties “have been fighting for a year over positions” in the administration. “We ask the political class to either resign, or get to work,” Marica mentioned.

Yesterday’s protests will be followed by general strike on October 5, when approximately 800,000 employees from the public system will stop work. The leader of the Free Trade Unions Federation of the Education Sector (FSLI) Aurel Cornea yesterday announced that the general strike set for Monday stays in place.

A trade unions delegation met Labour Minister Marian Sarbu, at the PSD headquarters. After the meeting, Sarbu declared he will continue to discuss with the unions. “I believe some conclusions could be drawn, and they refer to the participation of union leaders in the commission that will set the concrete measures concerning the wage system in the coming years. I must remind that the blanket salary law is a framework-law, which is associated each year with special wage laws, in which trade unions will continue to have a say,” Sarbu said at the PSD headquarter.

Asked about how he will continue this dialogue, given the general strike in the public sector on October 5, the Labour Minister explained that “the law provides for this dialogue to go on. I hope it won’t be a large-scale movement, which would hamper the talks. It is the right of trade unions to take the protest measures they consider as necessary,” he added.

Yesterday’s protests were anything but uneventful.

At the PSD offices, unionists booed Social-Democrat leader Mircea Geoana, while at PDL they gave the same treatment to former deputy Anca Constantinescu, who drove past them in a Mercedes SLK. The protesters also blamed PDL and President Traian Basescu for not wishing to listen to their demands.

Also at the PDL headquarters, unionists clashed against the gendarmes, after one of the latter, in civil clothes, caught the meeting on tape. The protesters accused him of doing this on behalf of secret services.

“We don’t understand why, we asked him to show us an ID, because – according to the Constitution – they can only film us if we agree to it,” unionists complained. They added that the man who caught the meeting on tape dressed as a gendarme only after they protested and, furthermore, he refused to provide an ID card.

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