Health trade unionists continue their protests. The reason why the general strike is not triggered

Federation “Health Solidarity” the protests continue, on the grounds that the Government maintains its intention to increase the basic salaries of health workers by only 15% and refuses to negotiate.

Previous protests by members of the Sanitary Solidarity Federation – Photo Facebook

Even if the Government presents the measure as a salary increase, this does not represent an increase in the purchasing power of the health employees' salary income, but only a partial coverage of inflation, far from its level in recent years, the Federation claims “Health Solidarity“.

Thus, the protests continue because “to discuss a salary increase is to discuss the increase in purchasing power. Any other form of wage 'increase' that does not meet this condition maintains the status quo of wage income decreases“, the statement says.

This is the main reason why the demonstrations of the “Health Solidarity” Federation do not stop. On Thursday, 300 members will picket the Ministry of Health, between 12:00 and 13:30 and the Ministry of Labor, between 13:30 and 15:00.

Moreover, according to the representatives of the Federation “Health Solidarity“, the pickets in front of the two ministries are the last protest actions carried out in the streets with a small number of people. According to the quoted source, they will be continued by “the protest during the lunch break” (a rehearsal for the general strike) which will take place on February 29 and the last protest in the street before the general strike, namely the national rally of health workers, which will take place in Piaţa Victoriei, on the National Day of Medical Personnel, on March 11 .

According to the statement of the Federation “Health Solidarity“, the reality of the salary income evolution of healthcare employees is demonstrated by the official statistical data, which show that inflation in the period January 1, 2022 – January 1, 2024 is 23.59%. If the average nominal salary increases during this period are subtracted from the inflation value , which were in the last two years, including January 1, 2024, of 6.25%, it becomes evident that only in the last two years the purchasing power of the average salary income of health workers decreased by 17.34%. An increase with only 15% of basic salaries in the following months means an increase of at most 10% of salary incomes.

Consequently, at the final moment of salary increases, health workers will have a decrease in real salaries (the purchasing power of salary income) by at least 7.34%, compared to the inflation until now. To this decrease will be added the evolution of inflation from the following period (4.7% until the end of 2024, according to the BNR forecast), which will cause a decrease in real wage incomes of 12.4% in 2024, the representatives of the Federation sent “Health Solidarity“, according to Agerpres.

The indexation of salary incomes with the inflation rate requires an additional increase of average salary incomes by 22.4% (or an increase of approx. 25% for the whole year 2024), say the trade unionists.

Only what exceeds this level would represent an increase in real wage incomes. Only through a salary increase can fair compensation be ensured for all employees, including professionals who participate in ensuring the permanence of medical services“, the press release states.

There are not enough signatures for the general strike

The “Health Solidarity” Federation also explained why the general strike is not being launched. The representatives of the organization said that they do not have enough signatures to trigger the general strike, because the other representative federation (Sanitas) “seems to have given up protesting“.

The strike has not yet started for a simple reason: the number of those who signed for the strike on the lists of the “Health Solidarity” Federation is (for now) insufficient to make an effective strike. At least 50% of participating health workers (who have signed up for the strike) are needed to carry out an effective strike. That means at least 110,000 employees in the public health sector. As the other representative federation (who had announced that they had a large number of signatures for the strike) seems to have given up on the protests (if they do not intend to strike then the signatures on their lists do not count, the employees signing them for nothing), we are now endeavoring to we reach this number by ourselves. For this we still have approx. One month“, those from “Sanitary Solidarity” transmitted.

So far 20,000 employees have signed on the lists of the “Health Solidarity” Federation.