Romanian teachers’ wages to rise by 13% in January, 20% until end-2024
Under an emergency ordinance (OUG) drafted by the Finance Ministry but backed only by the junior ruling Liberal Party (PNL), the school teachers’ wages will increase by 13% as of January and by another 7% (of the December 2022 wages) in August, resulting in a 20% overall increase.
Other wages in the public sector will increase by 5% in January, while a series of bonuses and benefits (such as holiday vouchers) will be suspended during 2024.
The Social Democrats said they were unaware of this OUG drafted by the Liberals but failed to detail their version of how much teachers’ wages should increase.
The interpretations of whether the hikes are in line or not with the government’s promises made under emergency ordinance OUG 57/2023 diverge. While Edupedu.ro calculates a 40% increase for January (meaning 80% for the whole year), based on OUG 57/2023, Cursdeguvernare.ro quotes trade union leader Anton Hadar who claims that the 20% rise is fully in line with the emergency ordinance thus with the government’s promises.
The discrepancy is quite wide, but Antin Hadar, quoted by Cursdeguvernare.ro, argues that the 20% overall hike will bring the entry-level wages in line with the economy-wide average after the 30% wage hike in June 2023.
Under OUG 57/2023, the government promised in June 2023 to increase the teachers’ wages to the level inked in the future unitary wage bill (UWB) designed for the entire public sector in two tranches during 2024 – with a first tranche in January 2024 and the second one by the end of 2024. The UWB should have placed the entry-level wage received by a school teacher in line with the economy-wide average salary.
This was an ambitious promise made by the ruling coalition at a delicate moment: the transfer of power from Liberals to Social Democrats. At that moment, the government had extended a wage hike, effective June 2023, in an attempt to silence the strike.
In the meantime, the ruling coalition failed to come up in time with the UWB and decided to address teachers’ requests with an emergency ordinance instead. The future of the UWB remains unclear.
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