The severe austerity implemented in Romania in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, carried out on the backs of working people, has spurred a period of accelerated economic growth and rising profits but it has been at the expense of the hard strapped workers of Romania. In this context the pent up anger and frustration has led to the calling of indefinite strikes in the public sector, starting today.

On Wednesday, October 27 a demonstration of 80,000 assembled in front of the Romanian parliament. Nurses, teachers, police officers, statisticians, electricity plant workers and many other civil servants converged on Bucharest from all over the country. At the same time inside the parliament the second vote of no confidence in ten months was being taken.

Last week several days running the government in Romania faced stiff opposition on the streets to its package of austerity measures. So much so that the interior minister was forced to resign, while the prime minister was also called on to resign. So tense was the situation that the police held emergency talks with the president.

Tens of thousands of public sector workers went on strike yesterday, May 31, against the government’s austerity plan, which includes cuts in pay and pensions. The austerity package, coming into effect on June 1st, will see public sector wages slashed by 25% and pensions and unemployment benefits by 15%, with the aim of reducing the budget deficit to 6.8% of GDP. All government spending will be cut by 20% and anywhere between 80,000 and 300,000 workers out of a total of 1.4 million in the state sector will be sacked.

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