Trade unionists’ 2000 km journey highlights problem of low pay


On 5 July a group of 13 Romanian trade unionists arrived in Brussels after a four-day rolling protest from Bucharest over the low wages that force many of their fellow citizens to make similar journeys to find decent work. The “Caravan of Social Rights” stopped in Budapest, Vienna, Munich and Luxembourg along the way to stage protests outside Romanian embassies with the support of local trade unions. GDP per capita in Romania is now 72% of the EU average, but Romanian workers’ pay is just 28% of the EU average and the minimum wage is just €281 a month when the cost of living is €572 a month. One third of Romanian workers are now paid the minimum wage, as a result of the 77% collapse in collective bargaining coverage since 2000. There are now only 800 collective agreements in Romania compared to 22,000 in 2010. The trade unionists were met by the ETUC and joined a delegation to the European Commission to underline the importance of implementing a strong directive on adequate minimum wages.

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