Romanian trade union confederation prepares to launch general strike

By bne IntelliNews November 2, 2017

Romanian trade union confederation CNSLR Fratia announced on November 2 it has decided to start procedures to launch general strike, following the government’s decision to transfer social security contributions entirely to the employees. The unionists claim the measure will lead to a decrease in wages, especially in the private sector, and loss of jobs.

Trade unionists have already held mass protests in Bucharest, but the authorities said they would still go ahead with the planned fiscal changes. The planned strike is likely to put even more pressure on the government, which has already been criticised by investors for its planned measures. In addition, protests are currently being organised on Facebook against planned changes in the justice sector and are due to take place on November 5 in several cities.

The planned general strike will be held in several sectors of activity such as energy, communications, transport, agriculture, healthcare, education, public administration and social assistance, the trade union said in a statement.

“After collecting signatures from the 500,000 employees in our Confederation, we will decide on the date to launch the strike,” the statement added.

The government debated amendments to the Fiscal Code in a first reading on October 26. According to the government’s plans, income tax will be cut next year to 10% from the current 16%, while social security contributions, entirely paid by employees, will be cut by 2pp to 37.25%, the finance ministry said in a statement.

On November 1, the American Chamber of Commerce in Romania (AmCham Romania) expressed its concern over the impact of the recently announced fiscal policy measures both in terms of increased costs for taxpayers and budgetary sustainability.

The AmCham also warned of the negative impact the transfer of social security contributions entirely to the employee will have on the labour market, by generating increases in salary expenses and by reintroducing discriminatory fiscal treatments between different types of taxpayers. 

On October 19, more than 5,000 employees of the Romanian public healthcare sector protested against the government’s plans to transfer social security contributions from employers to employees. Another mass protest was held in Bucharest on October 4.

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