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October 28, 2021

Strikes cease, gov’t to face parliament as last stronghold against austerity plan

Boc cabinet to assume responsibility over austerity plan on Monday.

The Permanent Bureaus of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies yesterday agreed on a calendar for the government to assume responsibility over a controversial austerity package and decided that the procedure will be held on Monday, June 7. The Senate Speaker, member of the opposition Social-Democrat Party, said the opposition would file a no-confidence vote against the measures and the government on Tuesday. PM Emil Boc was summoned to the bureaus’ session yesterday to offer clarifications about the austerity package, which includes a 25 per cent cut in public sector wages, a 15 per cent cut in pensions and other state income reductions. The prime minister charged that the decision to ground the two drafts in the national security provision was perfectly legal. Employees of the state-run companies would not be affected by the overall 25 per cent wage cut in the rest of the public sector, the cabinet decided yesterday during the weekly meeting.

The cabinet also passed an emergency ordinance to reduce the number of hospital beds by 9,200 and to eliminate 577 positions of managers, as of July 1. Senator Iulian Badescu told fellow lawmakers that he has resigned from the PDL because he does not agree to the Emil Boc cabinet’s anti-crisis programme.

The group of independent lawmakers (who recently set up their own party, the National Union for Romania’s Progress – UNPR) has announced it would abstain from voting for or against the no-confidence vote.

Given lack of enthusiasm, trade unions from the administration sector have decided to suspend the strike they have started earlier this week. The strike within the education sector was also left in doubt. Protests continued yesterday in several counties however they seem to be tapering off.

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