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Trade unions demanding renegotiation of letter of intentUpdated: 19-05-2010 | Politics

The Cartel Alfa National Trade Union Confederation, the Fratia National Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Romania, the National Trade Union Bloc and the Meridian National Trade Union Confederation believe that the austerity measures proposed by the Romanian Government are unacceptable and have taken to protesting before the Government House, the Parliament House and the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.

The industrial actions are scheduled to culminate on Wednesday with a protest rally before the Government House between 11:00hrs-13:00hrs, local.

Trade union leaders say that nearly 60,000 trade union members are expected in Bucharest to protest at the austerity measures unveiled by the Government and President Traian Basescu that are included in a letter of intent from the Romanian Government to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concerning a financial agreement that also involves the European Union. Among the measures are 15-percent cuts in public pensions; 25-percent cuts in public wages; a 25-percent cut in the minimum industrial wages; a 15-percent cut in unemployment benefits; taxing ticket meals; massive cuts in public subsidies, particularly for the countryside; massive reductions in social security benefits; cancelling ongoing social programmes; staff cuts of 250,000 in the public sector; closing down 200 hospitals and tens of schools in order to curtail public spending; freezing early retirements and capping infirmity pensions.

Following the unveiling of these measures, which the trade unions finds unpalatable, the five largest trade union confederations argued at a news conference that the Government is burdening only the poorest social categories with the solutions to take the country out of the ongoing crisis, as it refuses to change its governing style and is not proposing any solutions that will really take Romania out of the crisis.

AGERPRES

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