Subway warning strike took place Thursday morning between 4.00h and 6.00h. General strike looming on Monday

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The subway employees have staged a warning strike on Thursday, with trains stopped between 4.00h-6.00h. The trade unionists threaten to start general strike if their demands are not met. If the general strike is launched, the trains will be put on hold between 4.00h and 16.00h on Monday.

The subway employees request a wage increase of 42% and are discontent with the deadlock of negotiations for the collective bargaining agreement, reports.

USLM Trade Union leader, Ion Radoi, said on Thursday they haven’t reached a deal on the collective bargaining agreement for 2018-2019. “Yesterday we were about to reach a deal, but Minister Lucian Sova (Transport Minister – our note) intervened to stop it. We can only head towards the general strike. As of Monday the subway trains will not operate during 4.00h-16.00h,” Ion Radoi said.

The general strike could start on Monday and will affect some 700,000 passengers every day.

In his turn, Minister Lucian Sova said Wednesday evening that “the strike is not for the subway employees, it is for maintaining the privileges the shopkeepers in the subway stations have for more than 15 years.”

Sova said the negotiations for the collective bargaining agreement started several months ago and the main request was the wages to increase by 42%, although the wages have increased every year in the past four years. The Transport Minister said the gross average wage at Metrorex is of RON 7,300 for the technical staff, RON 8,000 for mechanics and RON 5,300 for the night shift, but the employees have other benefits as well such as meal vouchers of RON 12 per day, settlements of 75% of the holiday tickets, settlements of 50% of the railway and auto subscriptions, settlements of 99% for a hotel in Busteni owned by the trade union, railway passes.

Minister Sova said the negotiations are ‘blackmail’ and that, if Metrorex accepts the trade unionists’ demands, the subway ticket prices should increase from RON 2.5 to RON 4. “This is unacceptable,” he said, adding that the wage increases should be done according to productivity increases.

The minister said the earnings from subway trade were in 2016 of RON 2.9 million, of which the administration collected RON 734,000 and in 2017 of RON 3 million, with the administration collecting RON 796,000.

Lucian Sova added that eight round of negotiations have taken place until now. In the past four years the wage increases were of 9% in 2015, 12% in 2016 and 21% in 2017.

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