Magistrates to go on strike in protest against changes to special pensions

Judges and prosecutors from all over the country announce that from tomorrow they will suspend their activity and start one of the biggest protests in recent years – the biggest courts in Bucharest, several prosecutor’s offices in the south and west of the country will block most of the trials and investigations. Magistrates are unhappy with the changes to the special pension legislation.

The more than 200 judges of the Bucharest Court of Appeal (CAB), the largest in the country, decided in Tuesday’s General Assembly, with a majority of votes, to cease the activity of all sections, starting from Wednesday, June 21, with the exception of a few types of urgent cases, much less than the emergencies that would have continued to be tried during vacation, as a form of protest against the service pension reform project, which will change the status of magistrates.

Criminal cases involving arrestees, some of those involving minors (e.g. placement and other protective measures) or protective measures are among the few in which the CAB magistrates will judge starting from Tuesday.

Entire sections will completely cease activity, such as those for commercial, labor and social insurance disputes, civil or administrative litigation, not even judging those cases previously considered urgent, which were not normally interrupted during the court vacation.

Labor Minister Marius Budai said on Monday, regarding the law on special pensions, that the last option is a 15% tax for what exceeds the average net salary. He mentioned that there are still some things to harmonize, and on Tuesday there will be a final discussion with the European Commission.

The new Minister of Justice, Alina Gorghiu, reacted by saying that she “respects the magistrates’ right to free expression, but starts from the premise that dialogue is the solution to solving any problem of the judicial system, not protest”. Gorghiu also says that “Romanian society is waiting for this reform of service pensions”.

“The principle that no pension can exceed salary is a moral one. Romanian society is waiting for this reform of service pensions,” Gorghiu said.

Last week, the Superior Council of the Magistracy (CSM) wrote to the European Commission about its “concern” about the draft law on the reform of special pensions, saying that “it is imperative to rethink the phased method proposed by establishing rational intervals for the application of the new provisions” , so that the increase in the retirement age, with a minimum of 12 years, is done gradually, over a much longer period than the one proposed, “without affecting the legitimate hope of the beneficiaries”.

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