Some of the courts in Bucharest suspended their activity on Wednesday, as a sign of protesting against the administrative measure of redrawing magistrates' stress benefit, 50% of their income. This is the second day of protests. On Tuesday, the Appeal Court in Bucharest suspended the ordinance that cancelled the benefit.
Justice Minister Catalin Predoiu announced on Wednesday he has taken a series of tough measures, because the Justice staff cannot ask others to do with less money without setting an example. He reduced the ANP benefit from 30% to 10%, and the manager benefit from 55% to 25%. There will be no PHARE benefits until positive signs will be visible.
Predoiu said the coming period will be difficult: everybody will have to make sacrifices and tighten their belts. Other measure could see the tax for judicial stamps going into the Justice Ministry budget. There will be discussions with utility providers for allowing rate payment.
Catalin Predoiu: "I kindly ask the magistrates to conclude protests. I have announced ever since February that there will be no more money". The request was made on Wednesday afternoon, when he also apologised to the citizens for any inconvenience caused by the disruption in the courts' activities. He thanked the staff who were caring on their work, despite the protests.
The court hearings were disrupted on Tuesday for two hours: the magistrates showed their dissatisfaction with the benefit cancellation and with the way the ministry of Justice was handling the situation in the judicial system. Minister Predoiu said the protest was ignoring was ignoring the State Budget Law for 2009 requirements.
Judges and the auxiliar personnel from Bucharest Court sued the Ministry of Justice. Prosecutors and their auxiliary staff in Bucharest sued the general prosecutor, who is the manager of the specific credits. "By reducing the budget, the minister of Justice, Catalin Predoiu, left the courts in the creditors' claws" Bucharest Court vice-president Laura Andrei stated.