About 3,500 postal workers from all over the country rallied on Saturday in front of the Government seat in Bucharest’s Victoria Square to demand higher wages and decent working conditions.
Carrying placards reading “Respect the collective bargaining agreement”, “Don’t trample on our wages, trim yours,” “Decent wages,” “Don’t kick us out, no wage cuts,” the protesters also resorted to vuvuzelas and chants to vent their anger.
According to Matei Bratianu, head of the Romanian Postal Workers Trade Union, a major grievance refers to the development of a regulatory act for temporary hires to replace the workers on leave, as the practice had been until 2012. The postal workers are currently not allowed to be on leave more than three days a month, so that they have to spread their legal rest period over ten months, Bratianu said, pointing also to the poor pay of the postal workers.
Other claims refer to the compensation by the Romanian state of the Romanian Post Company’s spending with the provision of the universal service – a requirement resulting from a decision of the National Communications Administration and Regulation Authority (ANCOM) – the writing off of the Romanian Post Company’s debts arising from the fines imposed by the Competition Council, to putting an end to the imposition by the Romanian Post management of unpaid work by blue-collars, an earlier retirement age for the workers doing exclusively night shifts in transit centres, and to the company’s annual contributions to Pillar 3 Pension Fund.
According to official data, the Romanian Post Company recorded in 2015 a pre-tax profit of 19.2 million lei (4.3 million euros) and investment expenditures increased by over 24 percent compared to 2014, while total expenditures were about 7 percent lower as to the year before.
The Romanian Post is a wholly state-owned company, with the Ministry for Information Society controlling 75 percent thereof and the Proprietatea Fund – 25 percent. The postal operator runs a network accounting for more than 80 percent of the total post offices nationwide. The company closed 2014 with a net profit of 22.8 million lei (5 million euros), moving in the black after five years of loss.