A public strike by bus and tram drivers in the Romanian capital went into a fourth day on Sunday causing traffic jams and stranding residents without their own transport.
The walkout over wage demands started Thursday and continued into the weekend even after a court declared it illegal. There were fears it would stretch into next week.
The Bucharest Transport Company has asked employees to return to work. Even during a strike, drivers have to ensure a minimum of 25% of transport is on the road.
“Please drive the buses and don’t believe the union leader who’s involved in illegal action,”general manager Adrian Crit said on Sunday.
There were 180 buses and trams on the roads Sunday, instead of 800, he added.
Employees gathered outside the company headquarters which was guarded by police, News.ro reported.
The manger said the strike could insolvency and cost jobs. It is costing the company 14 million lei a day, he said. One of the trade union demands is the resignation of the general manager.
“If this illegal strike doesn’t end, income will continue to drop and salaries will be irremediably affected,” Crit said.
He said if employees returned to work on Sunday, they would not face disciplinary charges.
The trade union leader who has organized the protest is a member of the Social Democratic Party and the strike is politically charged. The Social Democrats want to get rid of current mayor, Nicusor Dan, a member of the Liberal Party.
The mayor said there were conflicts between those that wanted to return to work and those that didn’t. He said a telephone helpline would be set up for drivers who wanted to work.
The Bucharest subway is the only public transport that is not on strike.