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May 20, 2022
POLITICS

Hot debates on the political scene on the economic growth and salary hikes. Tariceanu and Dragnea reply to Iohannis and Ciolos: If Romania has the highest economic growth in the EU, why do you oppose salary hikes?

Senate Speaker Calin Popescu Tariceanu and Social Democratic Party (PSD) President Liviu Dragnea attacked the Government on Tuesday, arguing that it opposes salary hikes even though economic growth is forecast to be the highest in the EU. The reproaches came after Premier Dacian Ciolos had explained that fact.

 

PM Ciolos: Wage increase measures adopted by Parliament lately add up to roughly 9 bln lei

 

Premier Dacian Ciolos said on Tuesday that the various wage increase measures adopted by Parliament in the last months add up to a total of over 9 billion lei (rd 2 bln euro), and the budgetary impact thereof would result in either the widening of the deficit, or a cut back on investments.

“From what Mrs. Finance Minister said and all the measures that cleared Parliament in the last months in preparation of the election campaign, we see that just as they got us used to, the lawmakers readily dole out wage rises without substantial budget calculations, and these add up to roughly 9 billion lei, specifically more than one percent of GDP shared out in various directions. (…) The ensuing budgetary impact means either the widening of the deficit – which would be catastrophic for Romania – or, if we want to rein in the deficit, (…) it means cutting back on investments,” Ciolos told the Adevarul Live webcast on Tuesday.

The Premier explained that the percentage wage rises for certain categories of employees only deepen inequities in the system and leave the law on the unitary pay of the public sector without financing.

“Assuming even that directing this money towards salary increases is indeed necessary … these percentage rises only deepen the imbalances in the treatment of various employees. And this is exactly what we attempted to correct this year, because just percentage rises don’t solve the issue of the pays in the public sector. We still have people with the same professional training, the same length of service, working in the same institutions or similar institutions, who have the same responsibilities, but collect different wages. The percentage rises don’t solve these distortions we want to correct through a consistent law on the unitary pay. With such decisions, financing to the law on the public sector pay will be cut short, simply because the money is again imparted in tiny bits to each and every one,” said Dacian Ciolos.

The head of the government reminded the listeners of the wage rises voted for back in 2010, but which were never carried into effect.

“We too made efforts to this end this year, but we wanted to increase wages reasonably, in a well-considered manner, to operate rises that would on the one hand address the treatment distortions among various professional categories in the same sector, but also gradually lead to a sustainable increase in revenues for the employees concerned. Just look back at the year 2010 and Wage Law No. 284 which also cleared Parliament and which provided for substantial rises but couldn’t be enforced, it remained in limbo. With the unitary pay law, if it ever is voted, we risk ending up the same way,” added Ciolos.

With regard to Parliament scrapping over 100 taxes at the initiative of the Social Democratic Party, the Premier argued that the budgetary impact of this move is of over one billion lei that “must be cut off from somewhere, probably from public investments.”

The Parliament’s joint Budget and Labour commissions approved on Monday the hiking of salaries by 15 percent in the education sector, starting on 1 January 2017. The amendment was adopted by PSD and UDMR lawmakers, PNL lawmakers being absent. At the same time, the commissions also approved the payment of bonuses for healthcare sector personnel at the level registered this year, not at the level registered in 2009 as happened before. They also approved a 25 percent hike in the basic salary of National Health Insurance Authority (CNAS) employees.

 

Chairman Tariceanu to PM Ciolos: Romania’s growth is put at 6pct of GDP; where is the money?

 

Senate Chairman Calin Popescu-Tariceanu on Tuesday said that this year, Romania “probably has the highest economic growth rate in Europe,” which should be reflected in the local purchasing power.

Given that, he is asking Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos where the money is, arguing that the technocratic Ciolos Cabinet is conducting all sorts of analyses, when in fact Romanians want solutions.

“We are facing a paradox that Mr Ciolos does not want to explain: Romania’s economic growth this year is projected at 6 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), probably the highest in Europe. My question and the question of all Romanians to Mr Ciolos is this: where is the money? Elementary political logic says we govern to improve quality of life, which includes the purchasing power. Economic growth should be reflected in the purchasing power, wages and pensions. Where is the economic growth? I see that all that the Government does is complaining and making plans. I see them envisaging all sorts of analyses. You should know that people are sick and tired of that. They want solutions,” Tariceanu said at the Senate House.

 

Dragnea to Ciolos and Iohannis:  If Romania has the highest economic growth in the EU, why do you oppose salary hikes?

 

 

In his turn, PSD President Liviu Dragnea accused President Klaus Iohannis on Tuesday that he is bragging with the economic growth that the PSD Government made possible.

“In a speech this morning, Klaus Iohannis bragged with the economic growth that the PSD Government made possible. The highest economic growth in the European Union, he tells us. So then, Mr. President, why do you and the technocratic Government oppose the hiking of salaries by 15 percent in the education and healthcare sectors? I want to promise you something: we will support the hiking of salaries in Parliament and we will implement it while in Government, because this is how economic growth is to be reflected in the Romanians’ pockets,” Dragnea wrote on Facebook.

His reaction came after Iohannis had stated that macroeconomic indicators are favourable at present and Romania’s economic growth tops the rankings in the European Union, registering a level of 5.2 percent of GDP in the first half of 2016.

 

LabMin Pislaru: This is a sad moment for Romania, as we are playing with people’s expectations

 

Labour Minister Dragos Pislaru said Monday evening, after the Lower Chamber’s Budget and Labour commissions decided to amend Emergency Ordinance 20 to increase pay to certain staff, that this is a sad moment for Romania, with electoral stakes whose result is something unsustainable.

“We are at a time when I may not have the political experience to interpret… This is a sad moment for Romania, a moment with electoral stakes when we are playing with people’s expectations and beliefs. This concerns hundreds of thousands of people looking for and expecting a more decent life,” said Pislaru.

He added that the amendments passed by the commissions will have a budgetary impact of 3-4 billion Lei.

“I nearly lost my voice trying to explain that we are discussing serious things that have a budgetary impact put at 3-4 billion Lei in addition to the initial intention of Ordinance 20, according to first estimates. This is a piece of legislation whose legality we questioned ever since its inception (…) because it is not by chance that Parliament passed a law of fiscal and budgetary responsibility that says no salary should be modified 180 days before election day, because doing that will be seen as electoral bargaining. Nobody can rightly say that our interest in public sector salaries has suddenly been awoken, as long as the parties, especially those left in the room, had all the time in the world to modify the salaries years ago,” said Pislaru.

He added that the talks over the salary bill had no budgetary resources to back them.

“We are talking about an average of 15 percent additional pay raise, the same raise in the healthcare system, unfreezing pay bonuses, plus the pay to agencies that deliberately included themselves in the bill, which has nothing to do with the agencies (…) What we, the Government, have said was that we do what we can this year; we have always said that we cannot do everything that we should do, but we have acknowledged the problems and said: here is a 4- or 5-year outlook to solve the issues that were swept under the carpet (…) We, we have learned nothing of the past lessons. We are in the same situation of electoral handouts that are promised without any budgetary resources to back them. That is not how proposals should be made. None of the originators of the proposals had done any computation of their budgetary impact,” said Pislaru.

 

Committees of the Chamber of Deputies approved the law on increasing salaries in education and health. PNL tried to block the report in the Legal Committee

 

Labor and Budget Committees of the Chamber of Deputies have approved on Tuesday the report on the Law approving GEO No.20/2016, through which several salary increases are granted in health and education, adding new categories of beneficiaries. In its turn, Legal Committee assumed the report on the law, not without incidents. PNL accused that the Regulation is violated because the term for the report consultation wasn’t observed, and a discussion in substance didn’t take place.

Only deputies from PSD, ALDE and minorities have been present in the Labor and Budget Committees.

They decided to include several additional personnel categories in education and health, among those who receive increases and salary bonuses; Labor Minister Dragos Pislaru was replaced in the meeting on the law approving GEO No.20 by the Secretary of State Iolanda Staniloiu.

Thus, in the merit gradation system will also include, along with the didactic teaching staff, the teaching and research staff in the universities, the auxiliary one in education and the one assimilated to it, including the personnel in the University Central Libraries, following an amendment proposed by the President of the “Alma Mater” National Union Federation, Anton Hadar.

Secretary of State Iolanda Staniloiu asked for the financing source to be indicated, which caused the indignation of the amendment’s supporters, who said that the financing will be performed “from the state budget” and that people don’t have to be considered to be at a “ten classes” level.

Joint committees have decided that the 15 percent salary increase will be also applied to the staff in the school inspectorates, including the administrative staff.

In the same time, deputies have voted another amendment by which researchers are assimilated to the didactic degrees in terms of salaries, while legal advisors in the educational system will be included in the didactic auxiliary personnel category, with the corresponding rights.

For the leadership positions of the didactic auxiliary personnel, employment restriction have been removed, so that these position can be also taken by IT specialists, engineers and other categories.

Deputies have also made corrections to the grids, by correlating the categories of personnel having secondary education with the personnel having higher education, where inequities have been found.

Legal Committee assumed the joint report on the GEO No.20. PNL asked to discuss on the amendments

Legal Committee assumed on Tuesday the report on the law approving the GEO No.20, prepared by the joint Labor and Budget Committees; PNL accused the violation of the Regulation, because the term provided for the report’s consultation wasn’t observed, and a discussion in substance didn’t take place.

Legal Committee has rejected PNL’s proposal to discuss each amendment of the report, deciding to assume the joint report prepared not more than one hour ago by the joint Labor and Budget Committees.

 

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