Protests engaging many thousands across the country took place on 12 November 2017 in many big cities of Romania including Alba Iulia, Arad, Constanța, Brăila, Brașov, Cluj-Napoca and others.
The protests started as a response to the announcement of an overhaul of the system of taxation. The measures proposed by the Romanian Government plan the rise of the minimum wage, but contributions to a compulsory private pension fund scheme will be limited.
Employers would pay a 2.25 per cent tax on their overall wage fund and small businesses with annual turnover below one million euros would contribute only one per cent tax on turnover instead of the current 16 percent tax on profit, thus lowering social security contributions by employers and shifting their entire burden onto employees.
It will also be up to the employees to bargain with their employers individually about potential increase of their wages in order to cover the difference in underpaid social contributions.
If approved, the measures will come into effect on 1 January 2018.
The Executive Committee of IndustriALL Global Union at its meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 8 and 9 November 2017 unanimously adopted a special resolution in support of the workers and the affiliated trade unions in Romania condemning the project of tax revision proposed by Romanian Government. Text of the resolution in English and Romanian.
IndustriALL Global Union also sent a letter to the Government of Romania calling them on “to desist from making workers pay the employers’ portion to their social security”.
In the letter Valter Sanches, IndustriALL Global Union general secretary said,
“All across Europe and beyond, social security contributions are financed jointly by employees and employers. It is quite surprising, to say the least, that a government led by a Social Democratic majority approves such a measure that goes against the principle of solidarity and the objective of ensuring decent working conditions and improving general welfare. Shifting the whole burden of social security taxes to employees will lead to a further drop in purchasing power and deterioration of living standards of citizens, and push even more young people to leave the country.”
“This measure blatantly ignores European and international standards. It is in contravention of universally accepted fundamental human rights and labour rights, as inscribed, inter alia, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and International Labour Organization’s conventions and recommendations dealing with social security, including Convention 102, which was ratified by Romania, and Recommendation 202.”
Sanches further called on the Government of Romania,
“to guarantee the human rights and labour rights of workers, deliver effective social policy and ensure that the principle of shared responsibility of social protection contributions is maintained.”