European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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Romania

7 November 2017

Romania: Reform of public sector pay system questioned

The Romanian government has launched a reform of the public sector pay system, by addressing the wage discrepancies between different social groups in different sectors. The debate about the impact of wage differences is still going on because the opposition and the trade union movement have raised serious questions about the effects of the reform law.

In its political programme, the government, which came to power in early 2017, announced a unitary pay law for the public sector. It is a project that aims to correct wages differentials and inequalities and includes increases for all employees, regardless of their performance.  On 7th of June 2017, the Romanian Chamber of Deputies adopted a law on public pay which will improve the salaries in the public sector.

The new Act will be applied from the 1st of January 2018. All public employees will see a 25% wage growth from the beginning of January 2018, whereas doctors and education personnel will get additional salary increases starting 1 March 2018. Teachers will receive a 20% wage growth whereas doctors and nurses will see a 100% increase in their salaries, from 2018 to 2022.  

The proposal has been challenged by the opposition which has appealed to the Romanian Constitutional Court. Together with the trade unions, the opposition thinks that the law is unconstitutional for various reasons. One of them being that the Government claims that the proposal will not have an impact on either this year’s budget, or the budget for the next four years. Trade Unions are also concerned that the new law will widen the wage gap between the public and the private sectors. Trade union CNS Cartel ALFA – one of the five representative trade union confederations – sent a public letter to the country’s President asking that the law should not be enacted, pointing to the inequalities that it would generate. According to Cartel ALFA, the exclusion of some categories such as mayor, vice mayor and presidents of the county councils from the law’s provisions would result in new discrepancies between different institutions of local administrations. The employers, on the other hand, are worried that the private sector will have to pay the bill for the salary increases in the public sector in the coming years.

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