Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos announced on Tuesday that the Government is forced to request a constitutionality check on the law amending the Government’s Emergency Ordinance no.20/2016.
“We are forced to request a constitutionality check of this law that was adopted and I want to be very clear: this request for a constitutionality check targets only the law that amends the Emergency Ordinance, and not the emergency ordinance as it is. Therefore, what has been decided through this emergency ordinance stays further enforced, regardless of what the Constitutional Courts decides,” Ciolos mentioned at the Victoria Palace.
The Prime Minister stated that after a “cold analysis” of the vote given by Parliament, he is asking if the ones who adopted the amendments to Ordinance no.20 truly want their enforcement.
“The first question that I ask myself is if the Social Democratic Party (PSD) and the ones who voted this law genuinely want the salary hikes. (…) I notice that there are several violations of the legislation and of the Constitution, which I don’t believe couldn’t have been considered at the moment in question. A real, transparent debate of the amendments that were proposed wasn’t carried out. The Government requested details several times – as you have also seen the dialogue between the State Secretary of the Labour Ministry and some members of the parliamentary committee. (…) Amendments that aren’t even clearly formulated were being discussed and voted, while the procedure and the legislation state very clearly that the Government’s point of view is needed. (…) The Government could have had the possibility to offer some precise calculations regarding the impact,” Ciolos explained.
He added that “it’s not possible the MPs weren’t aware of the existence of the law on fiscal-budgetary responsibility,” according to which “draft laws that target wage increases are no longer to be adopted” 6 months before the parliamentary elections.
Dacian Ciolos recalled that the Ordinance has been with Parliament for several months.
“If they wanted to make these amendments, to come up with arguments for salary increases, higher than the ones proposed by the Government, there would have been the need for a real debate and for bringing consistent and unchallenged arguments,” the Prime Minister added.
“A populist electioneering approach of the salary policy risks jeopardising the future Government and Parliament’s adoption of a uniform salary plan law.”
“Basically, a populist electioneering approach of the salary policy, lacking an analysis and public consultations on this topic, risks once again, as happened before, jeopardising the future Government and Parliament’s adoption and implementation of a uniform salary plan policy that would set the whole salary system on healthy bases,” Ciolos added, referring to Parliament’s adoption of the law amending Emergency Ordinance no.20, which introduced salary hikes in the education and healthcare sectors.
On Monday afternoon, Lower Chamber MPs adopted the law amending Emergency Ordinance no.20 and introducing several salary hikes for public sector employees. The law was adopted with 184 votes in favour. Only one MP abstained.
The Lower Chamber’s joint Budget and Labour Commissions approved last week the hiking by 15 percent of basic salaries in the education sector starting on 1 January 2017. The amendment was voted by PSD and UDMR MPs, PNL MPs not being present. At the same time, the members of the aforementioned commissions also approved the payment of bonuses for healthcare sector employees at the level of 2016, not at the level they had in 2009, as was previously the case. They also approved the hiking by 25 percent of the basic salary of National Health Insurance Office’s personnel.
They also included other categories of beneficiaries.
Thus, alongside the teaching staff, the universities’ teaching staff and the auxiliary staff, which also includes the Central University Libraries’ personnel, will also be included in the merit rating system, following an amendment proposed by Anton Hadar, President of the ‘Alma Mater’ National Federation of Trade Unions.
The joint commissions also decided that the 15 percent salary hike should also be offered to school inspectorate personnel, including administrative personnel. At the same time, the MPs voted another amendment through which researchers are assimilated to teaching degrees from the standpoint of salaries, and legal advisors working within the education system will be included in the category of auxiliary teaching staff.
Occupancy restrictions have been eliminated in the case of leadership positions for auxiliary personnel, and can be occupied by IT experts, engineers and other categories. Lawmakers also corrected the salary grids, correlating the category of personnel with secondary education with the category of personnel with tertiary education, where “inequities” were noted.
President Iohannis: I’m positive about law on salary hikes in Education and Healthcare
On the other hand, President Klaus Iohannis stated on Tuesday that Parliament must clear things regarding the adoption of the law on salary hikes in the education and healthcare sectors, pointing out that he is “positive” in this regard and that he awaits the bill to promulgate it.
“These things will be clarified among those that need to clear this matter, I assume in Parliament. In regards to the law, I’m positive. I am waiting the law to promulgate it,” the head of state said at the Cotroceni Palace, when asked how he sees the adoption of the salary hikes law.
Dragnea reacts to Ciolos’s announcement concerning appeal at CCR: He’s lying!
PSD President Liviu Dragnea reacted after the Premier announced that the Government will file with the Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) an appeal against the salary hikes, claiming that “Dacian Ciolos is lying.” Liviu Dragnea said that he has nothing to reproach himself with and the technocrats have the money needed for public sector salaries.
“They are only talking about the gross impact. When we are talking about a gross impact of 4.8 billion lei, the costs incurred by the state budget are much lower, because income taxes and social contributions are collected. The net impact is 1.6 – 1.8 billion lei. This is the first piece of information. The second one, that the Prime Minister was saying that this hike should be supported next year too. Apart from the sums that they are unable to spend this year, the Prognosis Commissions has forecast for next year an economic growth level which represents 13.94 billion lei in budget revenues. This means that this impact of 1.6 – 1.8 billion lei is highly sustainable and highly covered.”
“In what concerns the sums left unspent, they committed through the state budget law to register expenditures of 255 billion lei this year and they spent only 169 billion lei at 9 months. They have 86 billion lei left unspent. So, it’s bearable this year. In what concerns next year, I mentioned that earlier,” the PSD President stated in a phone interview with Antena 3.