16 July 2008 Bucharest _ Following days of protests from trade unions, Romania’s centrist government has accepted a rise in the minimum wage but only from October.
"We can accept a rise of the minimum monthly wage to Lei 540 (€ 150) starting only from October, with a further increase to Lei 600 from next January," Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu said at a press conference. The government is now waiting for a response from trade unions.
Earlier this month, thousands of workers across Romania launched a protest demanding an eight percent increase on the minimum wage to Lei 540 from July 1.
Like other countries in eastern Europe, Romania is struggling to ease poverty while combating pressures from global price rises and rampant consumer spending that have taken Romanian inflation as high as 8.6 percent this year.
More than six million Romanians, almost 28 percent of the country's population, live under the poverty line, according to independent surveys.
The centrist government plans to keep to a budget deficit target of 2.3 percent of gross domestic product this year and to focus spending on long-term investment in infrastructure.