Romanian Supreme Court Rules Teachers Will Receive Unpaid Salary Rights, Decision Is Binding

Romania's High Court of Justice upheld an appeal filed by the prosecutor general concerning Law 221/2008 on increasing wages in the education sector, so teachers will be paid the difference between salary rights set by the law and the real wages they received until December 31, 2009.

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Imaginea articolului Romanian Supreme Court Rules Teachers Will Receive Unpaid Salary Rights, Decision Is Binding

Romanian Supreme Court Rules Teachers Will Receive Unpaid Salary Rights, Decision Is Binding

According to the civil procedure Code, the Courts' decision is binding. In 2008, the Tariceanu Government issued an emergency ordinance, which postponed the application of a law increasing salaries in the education sector by 50%, and provided a 17% raise. The ordinance was ruled unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court, which argued that postponing the raise affects the teachers' fundamental rights.

Teachers filed complaints in court demanding to be paid their salary rights set by the law. Courts issued different rulings, even if the Constitutional Court ruled that postponing the application of a law is unconstitutional. The prosecutor general filed an appeal with the High Court of Justice with a view to harmonizing all rulings.

The Federation of Free Unions in Education (FSLI) hailed the Supreme Court's decision and said about 10,000 FSLI members have been waiting for the court to issue a ruling regarding the law raising teachers' wages.

Education Minister Daniel Funeriu said Monday the law capping wage hikes for teachers, for which the Government will seek a vote of confidence in Parliament, states salaries will be set at their level in the first months of 2011.

He added that, if the High Court of Justice decides teachers are to receive the money owed as per Law 221/2008, the state will have to make available 2 billion lei (EUR1=RON4.1333).

Romania's ruling coalition decided Monday to allow the Government to seek a confidence vote in Parliament to pass the law capping teachers' wages.

The Government drew up a bill and plans to freeze this year the salaries of teachers who won wage increases in court, capping them at the level in January. According to the bill, granting new salary rights through collective or individual work contracts is forbidden and breaching this norm will represent a criminal offence.

Prime Minister Emil Boc said last week this law is required beacuse the country's economy cannot cope with a 50% wage hike. Boc said that, because of inconsistent judicial practices, some teachers are entitled to a 50% raise, others to a lower raise, so uniform regulation of this system is needed.

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