Thousands of Romanian court clerks stage walkout over plans to scrap their ‘special pensions’

protest grefieri eliminare pensii speciale
Foto: Inquam Photos / George Calin

Thousands of Romanian court clerks are staging a two-hour strike Monday ahead of a vote in Parliament on whether to scrap so-called “special pensions,” payments made to retirees that aren’t based on tax contributions.

Court clerks said they would not work on Monday for two hours, starting at 10am, followed by an all-day strike on Tuesday.

The Association of Court Clerks said some 6,000 court clerks from six trade unions would join the walkout. It said its representatives would meet Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Tuesday to discuss their grievances.

Parliament has interrupted its recess and is scheduled to debate and vote on scrapping some special pensions on Tuesday.

The pensions, which can reach many thousands of euros a month, are a contentious issue in Romania. Critics say they are unfair, discriminatory and cost the state too much.

The pensions are paid from the state budget cost more than 9 billion euros (in excess of 4% of the gross domestic product), deputy Prime Minister Raluca Turcan says.

The Liberal minority government would allow exceptions for former employees of the interior ministry and intelligence agencies. It says it will grant the exception to magistrates in line with a ruling made by the Constitutional Court

In June 2019, there were 187,480 retirees receiving inflated pensions. Of those, 178,168 were from the military sector_  interior ministry and intelligence officers. Of the 9,300 non-military pensions, 3,800 were retired prosecutors or judges.

Romania has about 5 million retirees and the average monthly pension is 1,220 lei (about 255 euros).

The opposition Social Democrats have proposed a bill under which the pensions would be subject to progressive taxation.


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