The enforcement of the new wage law and the transfer of the social security contributions from employer to employee are leading to new problems for the state employees.
“Serious problems are encountered in the central public administration and I refer to the ministries and the related institutions,” Sebastian Oprescu, leader of the National Trade Union of State employees has told hotnews.ro.
He claims about 22,000 employees with the central public administration will see their wages cut by 30-40%, some of the wages even by RON 4,000-5,000.
The trade unionists says the biggest cuts will be felt by the employees of the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE), by about 57% of the ones with leading positions and by 20% of the ones with executive positions.
“At the Foreign Ministry we have 57% of the ministry’s employees with leading positions – office chief, service chief, director, director general. So, 57% of these positions will lose about 30% of the wages. As we are speaking, they lose because they have higher income than the wage scale, being the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the salary of the employees is somewhat related to the salary of those working abroad, because one cannot work with a very low salary in a very rich country. One cannot keep with the diplomatic status,” Sebastian said.
According to him, those with execution positions will also receive lower wages by 20%. “Here I refer in particular to the positions with seniority, to those with some experience. Those who have recently joined the system do not lose part of their wages, but earn about 2-3% more, because the transfer of contributions comes together with the 25% wage increase. To a 25% wage increase, with contributions of 22.5%, it automatically remains 2.5% wage increase,” the trade union leader explained.
He argues that there are institutions where unskilled people will earn the same as the qualified staff, as a result of increasing the minimum wage.
“Another perverse element is where wages are very low, for example, at the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Youth and Sport and at the Consumer Protection. There are many institutions that currently have the wages in the minimum wage area. The increase in the minimum wage has meant that all unskilled jobs go near the low-paid qualified jobs. Currently, at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, we have almost 75% of the staff countrywide paid with the minimum wage, regardless of whether they have higher education or not , if they are qualified or not. At the Ministry of Culture, the percentage is similar, and here we refer to librarians, to all those who work in related institutions. In the area of the Consumer Protection, a very important institution, 43% of employees earn the minimum wage. Those with unqualified skills climb to the level of those skilled. We have commissariats for consumer protection where currently are employed only 3 people, in Galati, Braila. It is an institution that has to take care of the European consumer, not just the Romanians. Besides the very low wages, the work load is very high,” Sebastian Oprescu said.
At the local level, the situation is different. “At the level of the local public administration, here we talk about county mayors and county councils, the law gives them the possibility to make their own salaries. They can increase the base so they exceed the salary scale, they do not have the limit in the wage scale at the moment. They are capped to the salary of the Deputy Mayor or to the salary of the vice-Chairman of the County Council, with only these two limits, the minimum wage in fact increases the wage of the deputy mayor, depending on the minimum wage,” the trade unionist explained.
At the end of February, early March, it is possible to start some protest actions. “I guarantee you, as things go, the central public administration, sometime at the end of February, will have protests, some spontaneous, some organized,” Sebastian Oprescu said.
On the other side, while the salaries of the public servants in the central administrations go down, the gross wages of the MPs have increased so that they could cover te transfer of social contributions and therefore, their net wages have seen an extra RON 800 per month. So, if the senators and deputies had a gross salary of RON 13,050 in December 2017, in January it has been up to RON 17,100. So, the net salary has increased from RON 9,153 in December to RON 9,993 in January.
Despite the obvious rise revealed by the lawmakers’ payslips, Chamber speaker Liviu Dragnea (also PSD chairman) claims that salaries have increased fro 97% of the public employees, while only 3% of them see “slight” wage cuts.
Asked about the salary rises for the MPs, Dragnea avoided commenting, saying he hasn’t checked his card yet to see his January wage.