Parliament passes controversial public salary law

Parliament passes controversial public salary law

MPs to have higher pays as of July, increases for teachers and doctors delayed

Dragnea slams PM, FinMin

The Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday passed the controversial public salary law, despite the trade unions’ discontent against the delays of the pay rises for certain public employees such as teachers and doctors. Labour Minister Lia Olguta Vasilescu had announced on Tuesday that doctors and teachers would not receive wage increases according to the timetable discussed so far, while the increases will be phased in.

However, lawmakers are among the fortunate public employees whose wages will increase after the law comes into force.

The law was passed by 188 votes to 28 and 47 abstentions. The law will go to the Presidency for promulgation.

Save Romania Union (USR) voice intention to challenge the public salary law to the Constitutional Court, arguing the budgetary impact is not known, and the Government’s members “are improvising” for they don’t know the impact either.

In its turn, People Movement Party (PMP) led by former president Traian Basescu said it’s not fair that MPs wages should rise as of July, while the ones of the teachers and doctors should be delayed for next year.

“Wouldn’t you like to increase the MPs salaries starting 2022 and the teachers’ salaries as of July 1, 2017?”, PMP deputy Robert Turcescu asked the ruling coalition’s lawmakers.

On the other hand, the PM and PSD representatives avoided explaining why the public pay rises will not be enforced as of July as stipulated in the ruling programme, only saying the increases are sustainable as of next year.

“The public salary law is ordering a system dominated by chaos and discrimination. The wages of doctors and nurses will reach the level calculated for the 2022 grid as of March 1, 2018. For instance, an employee who currently has a salary of RON 4,000 will benefit of gradual rises up to RON 7,000. For teachers the rise of 2018 will be 50 per cent higher than the current salary, and the military staff will see the pay rises right as of next month,” PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea told the Chamber’s plenary sitting.

Dragnea slammed PM Grindeanu’s and Finance Minister’s absence from the plenary sitting for the public salary law vote.

“It’s a problem that the Finance Minister hasn’t come in Parliament today to endorse this law, although he had time. I have the political power to assume this and to apologize as PSD chairman for his absence. We’ll settle this issue inside the party,” Dragnea stated after the deputies passed the salary law.

“The premier should have come, too, for it is an important law, maybe the most important one this year,” the Social Democrat chairman added.

PM Sorin Grindeanu had said on Tuesday that the budget of approx. RON 76 billion for the pay rises next year is sustainable. “All that the Government has assumed is sustainable,” Grindeanu stated. However, he provided no answer when journalists asked him why the ruling programme on salary rises is not observed.

As for the Labour Minister, Olguta Vasilescu stated that the law is in compliance with the ruling programmed passed in Parliament, which stipulates a gradual rise of the public salaries by 56% with RON 32 bln by 2020 and with RON 43 bln by 2022.

The minister added that the wages of some dignitaries will decrease. “The dignitaries on top of the salary grid, Romania’s President, the Chamber and Senate speakers, will see their salaries decreased,” Vasilescu argued./IBNA