Friday, March 18, 2011

10,000 Romanians protest employment legislation

(AP:BUCHAREST, Romania) About 10,000 Romanians protested against new employment legislation Wednesday outside parliament, where the government later survived a no-confidence vote.

Protesters and unions say the new legislation by Prime Minister Emil Boc _ whose popularity has plummeted since he implemented harsh austerity measures _ will turn them into slaves, allowing employers to fire people more easily and demand they work longer hours.

The government, however, says it will make the market more flexible and increase the number of legally employed workers.

Television engineer Adrian Sobaru, who become a symbol for anti-government protests after he dived from a balcony onto the floor of Romania's parliament in December to protest austerity measures, was among the protesters.

"We need hope for us and for our children. Every person counts," he told the crowd.

Boc's Democratic Liberal Party has suffered in opinion polls since Romania took a euro20 billion ($27.8 million) loan from the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the World Bank in 2009, after the economy contracted by 7.1 percent.

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