Teacher strikes in Romania end - a success?
Romanian teachers have ended their wage strike which lasted several weeks. The government presented a new offer on the weekend: as of 1 June, all school employees are to receive a wage increase of 25 percent on average, with further hikes to follow in 2024. If the promises are not implemented the teachers will strike again, their unions say.
Lasting impression of unity and strength
The strikes were a democratic milestone, writes teacher Bogdan George Silion in republica.ro:
“We are all left with this image from Bucharest: a bridge full of people. I am sure that this image gave politicians who did not believe that teachers would show so much strength, so much unity, so much power to rebel nightmares. That is also a gain: to rebel, to say no, to stop time in its tracks, to build bridges of solidarity and dignity and to show those in power that they live in pathetic castles in the air that can be destroyed at any time. ... The memory of this lesson about dignity and unity will remain as a landmark for democracy in the years to come. And that is no small thing.”
The money for this doesn’t exist
The government will have difficulties coming up with the necessary funds, Spotmedia fears:
“The strike has highlighted the great mistrust between the government and the governed. Any new confrontation could directly affect the outcome of the elections [next year], which is the only thing the politicians care about. Keeping the promises which have been made on salaries, however, will be very difficult. Because the additional money for the teachers doesn’t exist. It’s not in the budget, so it has to come from somewhere else. If new loans are taken out, this will inflate the deficit and put the EU funds at risk. ... And if you start up the money press again, inflation will rise and wage pressure will also increase.”