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The city of Iasi in the northeast of the country on Thursday saw a new series of protests mounted by employees of Romania’s preuniversity education system
The city of Iasi in northeastern Romania on Thursday saw the first episode in a series of protests put up by trade unionists from the country's preuniversity education. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets and picketed for an hour the Prefect's office to protest the small salaries of both the teaching and non-teaching staffers in Romania's education system.
According to organizers, 'that was the first protest in a nationwide series' against the current level of salaries in this field of activity, which they described as gruesome. All the categories of employees in this sector from teachers to auxiliary personnel and even managers have been affected by the authorities' failure to raise payment in education.
According to trade unionists the latest series of talks they held with government representatives has led to no significant results and authorities failed to implement the 25% rise, which was supposed to offset the present inflation rate.
Protesters have also denounced the authorities' refusal to pay for the extra-hours worked as well as to grant the bonuses negotiated. Here is trade union leader Laviniu Lăcustă, with more on the aforementioned protest:
Laviniu Lacusta: "Unfortunately government officials failed to implement the things they promised during the talks we held with them in December, January or February. And if they continue to do so, we are very determined to have an all-out strike in May."
In an interview to Radio Romania, Education Minister, Ligia Deca, says that the protesters are disgruntled with the present legislation. She pledges that the authorities are presently working on a new legislation that will include new provisions on the progressive payment starting from the average medium salary, a thing agreed upon with the trade unions.
Ligia Deca: "The protests announced aren't against the new package of laws we are presently working on. They are against the salary scale under the present salary law. This is another discussion. The measure included in the new legislation, namely that the salary scale has the medium wages as a starting point has been welcomed by the trade unions, which have cooperated with Education Ministry experts in this respect. They presented the Labour Ministry with a new payment scheme based on this value so that people may feel motivated to embrace a career in education."
But since government pledges can in no way compensate for the employees' lack of money, we expect that protest actions like the one in Iasi to be seen all over the country, including in its capital city, Bucharest.
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