Romanian Union Leaders Call For Talks With President, PM, Before Completion Of IMF Negotiations

Romania’s five union federation leaders said in an open letter Friday they want to have an emergency meeting with President Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Emil Boc before the agreement with the International Monetary Fund is finalized.

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Imaginea articolului Romanian Union Leaders Call For Talks With President, PM, Before Completion Of IMF Negotiations

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The open letter to Basescu called for a meeting to reconcile the conflict between unionists and authorities over the recently announced austerity plan, and to avoid "clashes similar to those in Greece".

The letter was signed by leaders of the National Union Confederation "Cartel Alfa", the National Confederation of Free Romanian Unions - "Fratia", the Confederation of Democratic Romanian Unions, the National Union Bloc and the National Union Confederation "Meridian". They will submit another open letter to the Government, the IMF, the International Union Confederation, the European Union Confederation and the International Labor Organization.

According to the open letter, Basescu's austerity plan does not provide effective measures for fighting corruption and tax evasion.

The five leaders said they will schedule upcoming protests Monday, but there will be no protests next week. They added that a crisis committee has been assembled and all union federation representatives have withdrawn from mediation committees.

The Romanian President said Thursday, after talks with International Monetary Fund officials, that pensions will decrease by 15% and salary funds in the public sector by 25%, which will also impact the minimum wage, adding subsidies will be drastically reduced.

Sources close to the negotiations told MEDIAFAX Thursday that over 140,000 of Romania's 1.4 million public sector employees will be laid off by early 2011, in order to maintain staff spending at the level agreed upon with the IMF.

Basescu said Romania is forced to drastically cut public spending to avoid raising its main taxes and called on unions to assume their part of the responsibility for the allotting of funds in public institutions.

Romania's recession-hit economy contracted by 7.1% last year, after three years of annual growth of nearly 8%. This year's budget gap must be narrowed to 5.9% from 7.2% last year, to meet the terms of a EUR20 billion IMF-led bailout loan.

The IMF mission is currently in Romania to decide whether to disburse a fifth installment worth EUR850 million of a total stand-by loan of EUR13 billion.

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