Thursday, March 18, 2010

Romanian subway workers call off strike

BUCHAREST, March 17 (Reuters) - Romanian subway workers called off an indefinite pay strike planned to start on Thursday after the centrist government approved the state company's 2010 budget including wage rises of up to 10 percent.

"Luckily for subway employees and the public, there's not going to be any strike tomorrow," trade union leader Ion Radoi told state news agency Agerpres. "We've got a pay rise above 3.7 percent...this won't exceed double digits."

Some 5,000 subway workers in Bucharest had planned to stop work, demanding a 20 percent pay rise in the first major union action this year, which could have caused traffic gridlock in the capital city of some 2.2 million people.

Other public workers plan a series of strikes in the coming weeks, cranking up pressure on a new government struggling to claw its way out of recession by slashing spending.

Romanians' mounting discontent with IMF-backed austerity measures may stand in the way of the government implementing reforms, analysts say.

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