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UPDATE Policemen's protest finished. The unions threaten with general strike

de Ella Moroiu     HotNews.ro
Marţi, 11 august 2009, 12:44 English | Regional Europe

Several hundred policemen protest on Tuesday in quite a few cities across Romania. They haven't received the rent money for the next months and their income has been reduced by almost 20%, with three of their benefits being cut, including the benefits for loyalty and confidentiality.

The policemen in Bucharest started protesting at 10 AM in front of the Administration and Interior Ministry (MAI). But policemen are also protesting in several other cities: Alba-Iulia (Central-West), Sibiu (Central), Deva (West), Targu-Mures (North), Brasov (Central), Craiova (South), Resita (West), Ramnicu-Valcea (South), Piatra Neamt (East) and Galati (East).

Around 350 policemen, members of the Policemen Union and Borders Pro Lex are standing with the back at the MAI headquarters in Bucharest, saying that "the institution has turned its back on us", Romanian press agency Mediafax informs. They are also throwing candies in targets, saying that they cannot catch offenders in the absence of money, according to NewsIn.

The policemen in the capital brought a cardboard house to the protest. The union members placed it in front of the National Theatre, symbolising the fact that policemen will no longer be able to afford their rent. They also brought an electric bike along, saying they will run out of money for petrol.

The Union president Vasile Lincu underlined the problems policemen faced, in a Monday press conference:

12,000 police staff will be left without the rent money. Half of them work in Bucharest. This could lead to the evacuation of policemen that have been transferred for professional interest. (Policemen receive a monthly fee worth half of their income to pay their rent).

The economic crisis made MAI cancel the training courses for 1,200 staff. Plus, the police academy graduates will start their work four months later.

Policemen income was reduced by almost 20%, by eliminating three benefits.

Interior minister Dan Nica said on Monday that the Government is making efforts just to pay up the standard incomes of the department's 70,000 staff, but the budget for benefits is insufficient.

UPDATE The protests concluded around 12 AM. A unions' delegation met MAI representatives for discussions. President of Meridian confederation Ion Popescu declared that if the policemen's requests will not see solutions and if minister Dan Nica "will not sit next to them at the discussion table and if the Police will be stepped over once again", the confederation will launched a general strike.

None of the protesters left work: they were either on holiday or outside their working hours, Ion Popescu underlined. The protesters shouted "Nica, don't forget, you will be arrested".

Around 100 policemen protesting in Dolj and Old counties (South Romania) wish for a clone of Romanian Tourism minister Elena Udrea to run their department. They motivate their wish by claiming she was able to bring money for sailors and lifeguards, while the Police is "in collapse", Romanian news agency Mediafax informs.

Policemen in Craiova requested Interior minister Dan Nica's resignation. Dolj president of SPV "Prolex" union Eduard Maceseanu said that cops are forced "to beg" for paper from local town halls or to pay for the case they use at work. "We're out of money for ammunition", he added, saying they have to pay from their own pocket for many procedures their work involves. He said the press will be given images for everyone to see the conditions in which they have to work.  

Protests in the Defence department

The union members working for the Defence department are protesting on Tuesday in front of the Economy Ministry, displeased with the fact that the last 3,500 specialists working in the ammunition and guns plants will be sacked. Following this measure, 60% of the military producing units will be shut down. Defence unions are also protesting in the next two days to come.

    


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