The Romanian government has decided to challenge the law on pay rises for healthcare and education employees recently passed by the Chamber of Deputies at the Constitutional Court.
The government has decided to challenge the law on a 15% pay rise for healthcare and education employees at the Constitutional Court. The law on the increase of salaries on Monday was passed by the Chamber of Deputies, which is the decision-making forum in that case, after it had previously been passed by the Senate.
Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos has explained that there are several reasons related to the unconstitutional character of the law. He claims that the law on fiscal-budgetary responsibility was violated, which stipulates that pay rises shall not be adopted six months before the elections.
Dacian Ciolos: “This request for compliance with constitutionality aims only at the law amending the emergency ordinance and not the emergency ordinance as such. So, what the emergency ordinance decided is further valid, whatever the Constitutional Court may rule. Those amendments recreate or deepen salary inequities which we want to be corrected and I believe that public sector employees want not only their salaries to be increased, but the increase to be sustainable too; moreover, they want to be sure the increase will not be changed after one or two years depending on the budget availability, all the more as not only pay rises are adopted, but also inequities triggering so many problems are corrected.”
Ciolos also argues that the bicameralism principle was not observed, the law being substantially amended by deputies as compared to the draft law passed by senators. Furthermore, the Prime Minister argues, the Parliament had not called for the government’s opinion on those pay rises, according to procedure, and a transparent debate on the draft law had not taken place.
Attending the voting in the Chamber of Deputies, Labour Minister Dragos Paslaru said that as compared to the law drafted by the government providing for pay rises by 30% on an average in the next 5 years for all public sector employees, the law amended by the Chamber of Deputies gave rise to inequities. He also denounced the fact that those pay rises, estimated at about 1.1 billion Euros a year, were not covered by the budget.
However, the Social-Democratic Party, which initiated the law, believes that there is enough money for those pay rises, that were also backed by the Democratic Union of Ethnic Hungarians in Romania, ALDE and the group of national minorities.
Social-Democrat leader, Liviu Dragnea, believes that the budget deficit will not be higher than the allowed ceiling and that the impact of the pay rises on the budget will stand just at 1.9 billion lei and not at nearly 5 billion lei as the government claims. The National Liberal Party refused to take part in the debates and the voting in the Chamber of Deputies, estimating that the pay rises had no financial coverage, having only an electoral purpose. In the pundits’ view, those so-called “electoral alms” given in the run up to the parliamentary elections due in December will leave their mark on economic growth and will trigger a drop in investments.