Subway employees to decide whether to go on strike tomorrow. Buzau County teachers have already started their strike yesterday. Education Minister convinces students to give up protests.
Transporters will no longer take part in protests today and the subway employees will announce whether they will still go on strike tomorrow. Government representatives and members of the Confederation of Licensed Transporters yesterday signed a protocol to solve the organisation’s demands, determining unionist to give up the rally they had scheduled in Victoria Square today.
Prime Minister Emil Boc promised transporters that he would solve their demands, Mediafax reported. Boc assured transporters that government will work together with transporters’ employers to draft an order that seeks to combat unlicensed transportation of passengers and that the Traffic Code will be modified in Parliament. “We admit that there is a problem and this problem should be solved. Next week we will have a law, and Parliament will continue procedures to change the Traffic Code,” Boc told transporters.
At the same time, Transport Ministry representatives continued their negotiations with subway trade unions in an effort to prevent the start of a general labour strike scheduled tomorrow. After a meeting on Monday, Transport Minister Radu Berceanu announced that salary funds will be hiked. Berceanu said yesterday the government will approve today the subway company’s 2010 budget and that the latter will include a part of salary bonuses for the employees, a fact that would put an end to the scheduled strike. Also yesterday, Ioan Radoi, head of the Subway’s Union of Free Trade Unions (USLM), said trade union leaders will decide today whether they will give up the general strike. Their decision will depend on officials’ stance on their proposal for a new collective labour contract. Radoi said talks that started yesterday with Gheorghe Udriste, the head of the subway company, will continue today too.
Teachers protest throughout the country
Teachers in Buzau meanwhile went on strike yesterday, with about 90 per cent of the county’s schools interrupting activity, Mediafax reported. The strike will last until Friday, and students were told to stay at home in the meantime. The County School Inspectorate deems the protest illegal.
Thus, approximately 160 schools have closed down in Buzau County. Over 5,000 teachers will be on strike until Friday, complaining that they did not receive their salaries. The tone was set by teachers from the ‘Spiru Haret’ Pedagogical High School that has 1,500 students enrolled. There, teachers did not work the entire week. The example given by teachers in Buzau could be followed by teachers in other counties.
At the same time, trade unions affiliated to the Federation of National Education (FEN) continued their protests, complaining of the problems the system’s employees are facing. Teachers from Tulcea, Alba, Caras Severin, Ialomita, Sibiu and Brasov Counties plan to stake out their Counties’ Prefectures until March 25.
A joint meeting of four education trade union federations’ leaderships will take place tomorrow in order to establish a joint timetable of future protests. The Federation of Free Trade Unions in Education (FSLI) will organise a protest march in Iasi during a government meeting in the city today. At the same time, the Alma Mater Trade Union Federation decided on Monday to organise stake outs, warning strikes and meetings at local level until April 4. Trade union members could start a general strike in early June. Moreover, in the following period, trade union members from the higher education system will also take part in protests.
Students give up protests
The education minister has convinced students to drop their protests. Students have reached an agreement with Daniel Funeriu after talks that lasted several hours. “We have suspended our protests for now until we will also sign the protocol we forwarded to the minister. He assured us that it will be signed. In the protocol, we asked for holiday camps to be offered just like they were last year, for scholarships to be adjusted to the inflation rate and for us to be consulted in what concerns the new education law. We have asked the minister to sign the protocol before the end of the week,” Cristian Poenaru, president of the National Union of Students (UNSR), said after talks with Funeriu.
Students were dissatisfied with the minister’s decision to cut scholarship funds and to stop offering holiday camps for students. Moreover, students ask that the new education law should contain a chapter dedicated to them and want their representatives to hold at least 25 per cent of seats in University senates.