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Romanian teachers end pay strike after government negotiations

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Romanian teachers will end a three-week general strike after their pay demands were partially met, unions said on Monday, but the government faces further unrest from healthcare staff and other public sector workers, according to Reuters.

Education unions have asked for a 25% wage increase across the board and investment to boost infrastructure and teaching supplies, as well as demanding that wages for new teachers be raised to at least the national average.

A new teacher in Romania takes home just under 2,400 lei ($521) a month, not much more than half the national average monthly take-home pay of 4,554 lei.

On Monday, the government will raise teachers’ pay by 25% from June through an emergency decree, estimating the financial cost at 2.7 billion lei ($586.10 million).

It will also give teaching staff one-off European Union-funded annual bonuses until 2027.

But the cabinet will only align new teachers’ wages to the national average in stages from 2024 under a new public sector wage bill that has yet to be released and approved.

The European Union state holds presidential, general, local and European Parliament elections in 2024.

Teachers went on strike on May 22 for the first time since 2005, and thousands have protested in cities across Romania, chanting „Dignity” at a time of double-digit inflation and high interest rates, with low confidence in state institutions.

Healthcare workers, police and railroad staff have also staged protests over pay, staffing shortages and working conditions, warning of possible strike action.

The government has collected less revenue than planned this year and is under pressure to lower the fiscal deficit below the European Commission’s ceiling of 3% of gross domestic product by end-2024.