Researchers picket Ministry of Education, Cotroceni Palace

Over 150 researchers protested yesterday in front of the Ministry of Education, the National Authority for Scientific Research and Cotroceni Palace, asking that their field of activity be separated from the ministry, and voicing discontent with research underfinancing.

Romanian Research and Design Workers’ Trade Union Federation (FSLCP) leader Radu Minea expressed his disappointment with the fact no government representative accepted to hear their complaints and that they were unable to table a report of their pleas either at the Ministry of Education or at Cotroceni Palace.

Trade unionists marched with a banner representing President Traian Basescu dressed as a sailor and having a parrot with Prime Minister Emil Boc’s face on his shoulder, and holding in his arms a woman with the face of Education Minister Daniel Funeriu, a chest of gold coins at their feet. Researchers also wrote a poem next to this banner: “We want dialogue. We don’t want a parrot for prime-minister. We don’t want shameless lies. We don’t want orgies funded with IMF money.” Researchers demand separation of Scientific Research and Technological Development from the Ministry of Education, enforcement of European Charter for Researchers provisions, observing legislation regarding financing contracts budget in multi-annual research projects and legal provisions regarding research budget and its separation from education budget.

Minea argues that one should rapidly expose “the university (cross-party) and real-estate mob-like system and the civil servants tainted by it, whose activity is characterized by flagrantly trespassing legal stipulations, misinformation and abuses”.

Other demands put forth by researchers include putting an end to the destruction of research units by agglomeration or their arbitrary assimilation, reviving the Commission for Social Dialogue, putting an end to trade union rights violation and to the harassment of trade union leaders by employers, aided by labour inspectorates and the judiciary.

Researchers last protested on January 19, when dozens of Research Institute for Environmental Engineering (ICIM) employees picketed the Ministry of Environment, protesting against the merger of this institute with two others, leading to the discharge of 170 employees.

1,000 teachers protest in Buzau

Approximately 1,000 teachers from Buzau, Ialomita, Arges, Neamt, Iasi and Galati Counties took part in a protest in downtown Buzau yesterday. The protest ended after teachers’ representatives attended talks with Buzau Prefect Paul Beganu. After 30 minutes of negotiations, teachers’ representatives informed protesters that nothing was solved. As a consequence, the headquarters of the Buzau County School Inspectorate will be staked out today and the teachers will meet again in the Dacia Square tomorrow from where they will march towards the prefect’s office.

In Arad, a protest rally which was expected to gather 500 teachers was cancelled. Local trade unionists accuse the city hall of obstructing them by refusing to issue a protest permit.

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