Liberals have sent to the Labour Ministry a series of principles concerning the public sector standard salary scales law, asking Labour Minister Dragos Pislaru to table a bill based on these principles within three weeks at most, Eugen Nicolaescu, leader of PNL’s Lower Chamber lawmakers, stated on Monday.
“Today’s National Political Bureau has approved a series of principles on which such a bill can be realistically built. Consequently, we’ve already asked Labour Minister Dragos Pislaru, as a result of the Political Bureau’s decisions, to readjust the bill – thought out by the Government and ministry – on the basis of the principles we have approved today. Firstly, the scales were based on 1:20, we said [the difference] between the minimum salary and the maximum salary [should be] 1:13,” Nicolaescu stated, adding that he had several talks with the Labour Ministry on this proposal.
From the Liberals’ point of view, the bill must be drafted by the Government, but it must consider the principles forwarded by PNL, Nicolaescu said.
“Government, we are asking you nicely, because it is your duty to do this and to bring them to Parliament,” the leader of PNL’s Lower Chamber lawmakers said, adding that the minister “was very pleased” with PNL’s proposal.
Nicolaescu said that the new Parliament should convene an extraordinary session in January to debate this bill and to approve it so that it will be included in the 2017 budget law.
“If they won’t undertake these principles, we will have to do it, PNL alone, to finalise what we proposed doing. Also [with] a bill, filed in Parliament as stipulated by law,” Nicolaescu said when asked what will the Liberals do if the Government does not table a bill.
Nicolaescu also said that the main focus of the bill is on the Education and Healthcare sectors.
The leader of PNL’s Lower Chamber lawmakers claimed that the law proposed by PSD “has deepened the inequities between social categories within the public sector.”
“Basically, we made an estimation for the next four years. We are talking about an average raise ranging from 30 to 40 percent, which will lead to an average salary of RON 4,238, so almost EUR 1,000, at the end of 2020. We also calculated the impact of implementing such a bill. It will go up to approximately RON 23 bln in those four years, in contrast to what PSD is proposing which surpasses RON 42 bln,” Nicolaescu explained.
PNL has considered an average annual economic growth rate of 4 percent at most and there is a legal framework for the implementation of the principles the Liberals are proposing, Nicolaescu pointed out.
“We are considering real economic growth precisely by lowering by 7.5 percentage points the income tax. In other words, from the level of 39.5 percentage points at which the social security contribution stands now, we will drop to 32 [percentage points], namely we generalise the flat tax – 16 percent employer, 16 percent employee. We are considering channelling state aid toward SMEs, so toward local capital, which generates jobs and taxes, produces GDP. At the same time, the deregulation and cutting of red tape we started by collaborating with the Ciolos Government will automatically be continued. Likewise, the taxation of profit made in Romania by all types of companies – you know very well the transposition of the European directive in this sense and we will prevent actions to move profits abroad,” the leader of PNL’s Lower Chamber lawmakers said.
PSD on PNL’s initiative on salary scales: Beautification of return to PDL policies
The Social Democratic Party (PSD) considers that PNL’s initiative to ask the Government to once again modify the public sector salary law represents an attempt to beautify PNL’s decision to file an appeal with the Constitutional Court against the salary hikes approved by Parliament last week.
In PSD’s opinion, the Liberals are planning to revert to the austerity policies seen during the PDL Government.
“Lately, the Ciolos Government, President Klaus Iohannis and PNL’s representatives have opposed all measures that could have brought about a better life for Romanian citizens, such as the law on the elimination of 102 taxes, the conversion law, the law hiking salaries for physicians and teachers etc. In these conditions, nobody can take seriously the request that PNL made today, precisely after they blocked salary raises for physicians and teachers. As a result of the wave of negative reactions from the public opinion, PNL has lodged with the Labour Ministry a document requesting the resumption of the debate on the public sector salary law, in an attempt to limit public criticism,” the Social Democrats point out in a communique.
PSD claims that it pointed out the budget resources needed to hike the minimum salary by 12 percent in 2017 and by 40 percent by 2020, and the party’s governance platform also entails the hiking of all public sector salaries by an average of 56 percent in the next four years.
Dragnea: Not giving up goal to earmark 2 pc of GDP for defence
PSD President Liviu Dragnea distanced himself from ex-Premier Victor Ponta’s statements, pointing out that the Social Democrats are not giving up on the goal to earmark 2 percent of GDP for Defence.
“It’s an official commitment we expressed on several occasions and which we are not giving up. In what concerns the relationship with Russia, PSD’s point of view was expressed, is expressed and continues to be supported. We are very interested in developing the strategic partnerships we currently have, the very clear commitments with NATO allies and with our EU partners,” Dragnea said on Antena 3.
He rejected the Liberals’ accusations that PSD is a pro-Russia party.
“PSD has a very clear approach and orientation – pro-European and pro-Atlantic – without any hesitation. Likewise, 84 percent of the Lower Chamber lists and 85 percent of the Senate lists consist of new names. Most of them are young people who have no kind of pro-Russia orientation, they are people oriented toward the West, toward pro-European values,” the PSD President added.
Dragnea’s reaction comes after PNL President Alina Gorghiu stated that ex-Premier Victor Ponta acted as an agent of Russian influence when he questioned the earmarking of 2 percent of GDP for defence. She asked PSD President Liviu Dragnea to distance himself from the statements made by the former PSD President.
Victor Ponta wrote on Facebook that the December 11th elections will bring before voters political forces which support the hiking of Education and Healthcare sector salaries and the hiking of defence spending. “The political forces that are running in the December 11th elections have announced what they will support with priority: PSD and ALDE will support the hiking of salaries in Healthcare and Education; Dacian Ciolos, PNL (and probably USR too) are supporting the hiking of defence spending in order to respect the NATO (and particularly U.S.) requests, in line with Klaus Iohannis’s decision,” Ponta wrote on Facebook. “In the end, the decision is political: if the money available is limited, what are your priorities? And people have the advantage of at least knowing, on December 11, that chosen will be option 1 or option 2, depending on how they vote!” he concluded.