More than 10,000 railway employees to protest in Bucharest on April 29 against job slashing plan

Publish date: 28-04-2009
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More than 10,000 people working for the National Railway Company (CFR) will cook up a protest in Bucharest on April 29 at 10:30 a.m., marching from the Transportation Ministry, to the government and then to the largest train station Gara de Nord.

The employees are unhappy with the Transportation Ministry's plan to slash 12,000 jobs to cut costs, which triggers work-related uncertainty. Also, they are worried about the imminent bankruptcy of the railway system if investments are not carried out soon, especially in infrastructure.

The protesters said last week they are set to get the approval of the mayor's office on April 27. If their requests are ignored employees will call a general strike in a month. So far, unions have uselessly negotiated with the ministry, union leader Ion Molea said.

Railway staff complains over the lack of money, fearing that in two months' time there will be no money left to pay salaries.

Two weeks ago, minister Radu Berceanu said that CFR will be boiling soon with the personnel changes he plans to make there. The minister said there are too many employees working with CFR's divisions. On March 20 he announced that 12,139 people will be dismissed.

As a consequence, on March 26 over 1,000 employees gathered at the central station Gara de Nord to pledge for their jobs.

Other employees in the public system are unhappy with the measures taken by the government.

Staff working as auxiliary personnel in Romania's justice is also preparing a strike, asking that bonuses the granted to them too, not only to magistrates.

Teachers also threatened to call a big strike and even block the school year if the Cabinet applies either of the two measures it announced last week. Education employees had two options according to the central authorities, to either do without some of the bonuses or fire 20,000 teachers.

At the beginning of the year, the Cabinet announced plans to drastically cut spending by 20 percent in order to face the reducing collections to the budget, caused by the economic crisis which forced big companies to fire people and decrease production.


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