Trade unions reject the phased increase of the minimum wage, employers support it

The representatives of the five major trade union confederations that attended yesterday the session of the Social Dialogue Commission at the Labour Ministry rejected the government’s idea of a phased increase of the gross minimum wage, the vice-president of the ‘Cartel Alfa’ National Trade Unions Confederation, Liviu Apostoiu announced. “All the representatives of trade unions said that they are against this idea – half year with RON 750 and the other half with RON 800 – because it appeared late and there is no argument in its favour,” said Liviu Apostoiu.He explained that increasing the minimum wage in just one phase would not affect the state budget because this focuses on the private environment, so it would increase the budget incomes, while in the minimum wage in the state sector already reached RON 812. The vice-president of the National Trade Union Block (BNS), Ioan Pisc added that, during talks, one could not provide no argument about the government’s decision to raise the minimum wage in two phases, but “unlike previous meetings, Tuesday there was a real progress.” On the other hand, the few employers’ organisations that attended the session of the Social Dialogue Commission had mixed opinions. “The employers supported us, but the representatives of SMEs said that they support the government’s proposition, but they were in minority,” Liviu Apostoiu mentioned. The gross minimum salary in economy will increase this year in two phases: by RON 50 starting February 1st, to RON 750, and then to RON 800 as of July 1st, according to a draft government decision posted for public debate by the Ministry of Labour.The minimum guaranteed wage must reach RON 850, as any sum inferior to this value will hamper the advance of the consumption market in Romania, the president of CNS Cartel Alfa, Bogdan Hossu stated Monday after talks with the joint delegation of the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and World Bank.Another topic discussed with the IMF envoys was the sustainability of the pension system. The funds destined to the payment of pensions in the public system amount to RON 49.243 bln, respectively 7.9 pc of the GDP, according to the draft budget of the Ministry of Public Finance (MFP). The vice-president of Cartel Alfa, Liviu Apostoiu mentioned yesterday during the talks held at the Labour Ministry that the pension point will be indexed by 4.3 pc in 2013. Furthermore, PM Victor Ponta assured during a show on Antena 3 that in 2013 the Executive will not cut salaries and pensions, which will be indexed by 4 pc, but a series of taxes and dues provided by the fiscal package will be enforced that will bring additional incomes estimated at RON 2.9 bln.

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