Update: Spontaneous strike at CFR SA, trains halted in seven regional directorates

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Part of the railway workers have triggered a spontaneous protest Wednesday morning, a number of trains being stopped in seven regional directorates, less in Constanta, CFR SA informs.

Dozens of trains, among which two international trains on the route to Budapest and the other one coming from Vienna, are stopped in railway stations. According to official information, 114 trains have been affected by the strike, among them 13 trains are waiting in Gara de Nord in Bucharest, 39 in Brasov, 38 in Galati and 23 in Timisoara.

“The National Railway Company CFR SA informs that some railway workers have launched a spontaneous protest at 7:00h, affecting the trains’ timetable. The passengers are kindly asked to request information about the delays recorded in rail stations at the railway agencies in Bucharest and in the country at phone number 021/9521, before travelling,” the company informs.

The regional directorates where trains are stopped include Bucharest, Craiova, Timisoara, Cluj, Iasi and Galati.

According to a company release, the protest comes amid the negotiations between the management and the trade unions for signing the new Collective Labour bargaining Agreement for 2017-2018.  The CFR SA management announced that the company’s budget for 2017 includes a wage fund increased by 22.5% and, following negotiations with the social partners, the wages will increase.

“We add that the administration has proposed to conclude an agreement before signing the collective labour bargaining agreement for 2017/2018 in order to ensure social protection of the employees, fair working relations and a legal and normal framework for the operation of the company after the expiry on March 21, 2017 of the collective agreement,” the CFR SA release reads.

In Harghita County, trade union leader Cosmin Sorin Micloş says the employees came to work, signed the registry, but refused to work, because there is no collective bargaining agreement and the inequities of the salary scale are very high.

“We are on spontaneous strike, we no longer have a collective bargaining agreement; it’s like a soldier earns more than an officer, if he compare the situation to the Army. I mean, I am a signalman for 16 years, I earn less than a switchman, who is like a soldier for CFR. (…) There are inequities, the wage scale is infringed. (…) 40 percent of the CFR employees earn the minimum wage. That’s the main problem, we have no collective bargaining agreement, it is a mess, a new employee can earn more than a 20 years old senior,” Cosmin Sorin Miclos said.

The contract between CFR and Director General Iosif Szentes was extended on Tuesday by the decision of the Board.

Dozens of trains, among which two international trains on the route to Budapest and the other one coming from Vienna, are stopped in railway stations.

Transport Minister claims he had been told no strike will begin

Transport Minister Razvan Cuc said on Wednesday that the strike started although the night before talks were conducted between the ministry and the trade unionists and they agreed no work conflict will be launched.

“We were assured the strike will not start,” Minister Cuc told the government sitting. He added that on Wednesday, at 15.00h, the ministry representatives and the trade unionists will start another round of talks.

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