Approximately 500 members of the National Penitentiaries Workers Union (SNLP) will stage a protest on Thursday, from 9am to 11am, in front of the Justice Ministry, asking a supplementing of personnel and the full payment of 8-month outstanding wages, union leader Stefan Teoroc announced in a press conference on Wednesday.
“We’ve decided to take the streets to make the issues of the national penitentiary system publicly known, as they are not of yesterday or today. The most important refer to the staff shortages and the unpaid money in the past eight months. Bottom line, we ask the authorities and Justice Minister Robert Cazanciuc to release and urgently fund 1,000 vacancies. There are 15,000 positions currently stipulated in the penitentiary system, and 3,000 were permanently vacant in the past eight years. The 1-to-3 staff-to-inmates ratio is vitiated as compared to other European Union countries, given that in Romania absolutely all of the missions involving the detainees are carried out by penitentiary staff, escort or transfer included, and the units and equipment are obsolete and insufficient,” said Teoroc.
According to him, the personnel scheme is undersized, generating an overuse of the existing staff, which counts for 12,500 employees.
“For this reason, a huge of overtime is done – around 500,000 – which is impossible to compensate and constantly soaring. Not in the least, the salaries as decided by the Romanian Government and Parliament in 2014 were not paid to the national defence staff. Moreover, the work outfit purchased in 2014 is of very poor quality, tormenting the staff during heat,” the SNLP president added.
He also mentioned that, starting with August 13, the penitentiary employees will wear black armbands in sign of support of the SNLP actions.
“It’s unacceptable that currently the guard in certain penitentiaries is ensured by inmates, selected from the very least dangerous, obviously. Moreover, Romania loses many trials at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and ends up paying money that could have been spent on investments. Depending on the outcome of tomorrow’s protest, we’ll decide the next steps, a big meeting among them,” Teoroc concluded.