Salary cuts or layoffs – these are the solutions considered by the Government. The Minister for European Investments and Projects, Marcel Bolos, presented the information during one local TV show.
Either a revision of the salaries of public clerks or a reduction in the number of public clerks. We are moving towards these options. (…) The European Commission rightly tells us, ‘You don’t have money, so implement the reforms.’Marcel Bolos, Romania’s Minister for European Investments and Project
Romania is a country where there is a massive gap between public officers’ salaries and private employees. Namely, in Romania, the considerable difference between the average salary in the public sector and the average in the economy reaches 70%. This is unbelievable, especially when considering the quality of public services.
Apart from that, the budgetary employees have grown in numbers in the last few years, now reaching 1,280,000 public officers. Most of them work in Education, Internal Affairs, Finance and Health.
Will Romania be able to apply such a drastic measure? The reality is that this sort of reform was once applied in 2010, when Traian Basescu, the then-president, announced that salaries in the public sector would be cut off by 25%. At that moment, in a plain financial crisis, there was an intention to apply the same measure for pensions, but the Government backed off when the Constitutional Court indicated this could not be applied.
On the other hand, all the attempts to lay off employees in the public sector failed, or the Government did something else: they eliminated unoccupied positions saying they cut-off jobs. No public officer was ever laid off, but unoccupied positions were erased, indeed.
The public deficit in Romania has just reached a new record, and the Opposition leader warned last year that Romania heads towards state bankruptcy, precisely like Greece. So the Government should consider making drastic job or salary cuts. Either way, the days of dolce far niente in the Romanian public sector are about to end.