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Nationwide protests against Labour code changes

PDL meets trade unionists to discuss amendments. Opposition to file no-confidence motion tomorrow, likely to notify the Constitutional Court. IMF is rushing the code’s implementation, UDMR MP says.

Protests continued throughout the country on Friday against the new labour code. About 1,500 people joined a meeting in Cluj-Napoca, calling for the government’s resignation: ‘The new labour code is a slavery code, the only solution is revolt,’ ‘thieves,’ ‘down with the government!’ The leaders of the main trade unions, Cartel Alfa, BNS, CSDR and CNSLR Fratia, took part to the protest.


The protesters later arrived in front of the Democrat-liberal party’s local branch, shouting ‘Boc, don’t forget, Cluj doesn’t want you!’


Also in Sibiu about 2,000 persons protested in front of the prefecture, dissatisfied with the draft of the new labour code. ‘After 20 years we’ve become a country of slaves,’ they shouted. Cartel Alfa trade union local leader, Marius Vingerzan, told the protesters the code is turning back Romania by one hundred years.


Similar protests took place in Medias. Bistrita and Ramnicu-Valcea. On the other hand, the opposition is getting ready to attack the labour code at the Constitutional Court, the Social-democrat spokesman, Radu Moldovan, said on Friday. ‘Just after the government takes responsibility for the labour code (on Tuesday – e. n.), the Social-Liberal Union (USL) will discuss the possibility that the Senate Speaker attacks the law to the Constitutional Court on the issue of taking responsibility,’ Moldovan said. He added that, if the Court considers the confidence vote as constitutional, than the censure motion is going to be filed, according to a decision already adopted by USL. ‘We’ll do everything in our power to stop the amendments to the labour code meant to make the Romanian citizen a slave,’ Moldovan said. He rejected any comparison with the assuming of responsibility by the Adrian Nastase government in 2003 also on the labour code, as the act was decided after two years of negotiations with the trade unions and the employers’ associations and it had been their request to the executive to take responsibility, in order to avoid any amendments to the draft code during debates in parliament.


Also on Friday PDL representatives Adriean Videanu and Mircea Toader have had a meeting with trade unionists to discuss their proposals to amend the labour code draft. Toader mentioned the proposed amendments will be discussed by the Democrat-liberal parliamentary group. ‘We’ll see which ones can be supported by us and submitted to the chamber’s general secretariat, during the taking of responsibility procedure,’ he added.


On Saturday, liberal vice-president Relu Fenechiu, while at Suceava, said the labour code should be amended, but the changes need to be done after correct negotiations with the trade unions and employers’ associations. Fenechiu said not all PDL’s proposals are bad, but they were promoted in a disastrous manner, proving PDL’s incapacity to rule the country.


Fenechiu criticized the government for drawing the labour code according to ‘one or another’s ideas’. ‘Now we find out that the labour code is finalised in the same way businessman Dinu Patriciu (PNL member – o. n.) proposed to the Labour Minister Ioan Botis. This is PDL’s approach,’ he said.


Businessman Dinu Patriciu wrote an editorial last week in ‘Adevarul’, revealing he had been called on the phone by Labour Minister Ioan Botis to ask for his opinion on the new labour code.


UDMR newly elected president Kelemen Hunor said on Saturday, while visiting Alba County, Romania needs a more flexible legal framework in the labour field, in order to attract further investments.


Also on Saturday, while at Targu Mures, UDMR deputy Kerekes Karoly, said, during a meeting with the trade unionists, that the government’s rush to adopt the labour code is determined by the agreement with the IMF, in which the Boc cabinet assumed the measure to make the labour market ‘more flexible.’
The government is going to ask Parliament tomorrow for a confidence vote over the labour code.

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