Industrial relations in the public sector – Romania

  • Observatory: EurWORK
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  • Published on: 10 december 2008



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This report presents an overview of industrial relations in the central government and public sector in Romania.

Introduction

A longstanding, major concern on the agenda of trade unions is the promotion of a law regulating the single and unitary wage system for civil servants.In addition, the pay level is currently generating tensions and will probably continue to do so (RO0608039I), given that the monthly average net wage in public administration in the month of June 2006 was only EUR 365.

Romania’s integration in the European Union, on 1 January 2007, might bring to the fore claims and issues related to new regulations and aspects of industrial relations in the central administration. We are referring to the comparability of both the status and the rights of civil servants.Bearing in mind the fact that employees in the public sector still hold a high percentage of the total number of employees in the national economy, chain reaction claims could have a negative effect on the state budget.

1. Structure of the public sector in your country

The definition of the public sector commonly accepted and used in your country. What are the different sectors covered (e.g. central government, local government, health sector, education, others)?

The commonly accepted and used definition of the public sector in Romania includes the public institutions of national and local interest and state owned entities, as follows: central and local government and state owned entities operating under the aegis of central and local government (generally providing services of general economic interest), public defence sector, public health and social assistance sector, public education, public research and development and other economic state owned companies operating in different sectors, not yet privatized.

The definition of the central government sector commonly accepted and used in your country. What are the different sectors covered?

The Constitution of Romania includes a special title on Public Authorities: Parliament, Presidency of Romania, Government, and Public Administration (specialised central public administration and local public administration; judicial authorities – law courts, Public Ministry and the Superior Council of Magistracy).

The specialised central public administration includes ministries and other government or ministerial specialised bodies, operating as autonomous administrative authorities.

The following data:

Table 1. Employment and population (thousands persons)
Year Central government Public sector Total Employees (all economy) Total Population
Men Women Men Women Men Women Men Women

2003

21.9

38.6

320.1

629.5

2455.6

2153.3

10606.3

11127.3

2004

315.8

633.7

2350.3

2118.5

10571.6

11101.7

2005

19.9

38.9

312.2

638.1

2412.6

2146.3

10543.5

11080.3

Source: Data provided by the National Institute of Statistics (Institutul Naţional de Statistică, INS)

Note: * data for civil servants only

Table 2. Central government employment (% of civil servants)
Year Open-ended of which part-time Fixed-term of which part-time
Men Women Men Women Men Women Men Women

2003

2004

2005

97.5

97.4

2.5

2.6

Source: Data provided by the National Institute of Statistics (Institutul Naţional de Statistică, INS)

Note: The data refer to civil servants employees in central government. According to Romanian definition do not include school teachers, NHS employees, people employed in research and development, culture, etc.

Please clarify whether central government employment includes: a) school teachers; b) NHS employees; c) armed forces and police; other non-ministerial employees. If data include these groups of employees, please indicate their numbers (or estimated share).

Please indicate whether fixed-term employment and part-time work are typical of certain organisational areas in the central government sector (for instance, top job positions rather than lower-level occupations) or group of workers (such as employees approaching retirement, new recruits, women, technicians, and the like)

Part time employment contracts are not the rule.

Public dignitaries are appointed for a fixed term mandate (usually four-five years). Civil servants may apply for managerial positions by fair and open competition. The mandate is of four -five years.

All other civil servants have open-ended employment contracts.

Recruitment and selection of young employees is competition-based. Following a trial period at entry-level status they may then be hired with open-ended employment contracts.

When public dignitaries or contract-based employees (who are not civil servants) reach retirement age they may request to stay on with a fixed term employment contract but usually for no more than a year.

Please indicate the presence and quantitative relevance of non-standard employment relationships in the central government sector, and especially of temporary agency work and service contracts with individuals or other non-standard contractual relationships that are important in your country.

Under special circumstances i.e. when studies, surveys, consultancy work require experts or specialists, these may be hired with temporary employment contracts. Such cases are however are not especially frequent or relevant.

2. Employment regulation

Public sector vs. private sector.

Do (certain) public sector employees enjoy special status compared with private sector employees?

In the public sector there are generally three broad categories of employees: senior civil servants (dignitaries), civil servants and contract-based employees.

Civil servants have their own Civil Service Status (RO0401107F). Since the amendment of the Law on Trade Unions in 2003, they have been allowed to set up trade unions, apply for union membership and to take part in collective bargaining through their representatives.

Contract-based employees in central public administration have similar rights. However, wages in central public administration are approved by a special law and annual wage increases are granted by Government Decision and are not subject of collective bargaining.

Do all public sector employees have the same status or are there differences between different groups of employees, as, for instance, between civil servants, clerical employees and workers?

If public sector employees enjoy special status(es), please specify:

The distinctive features of (each) public sector employment status, highlighting the main differences with the status of private sector employees (and, if relevant, among the various public sector statuses). In particular, indicate whether such differences involve the rights: i) of association; ii) to bargaining collectively; iii) to strike.

Employees in the defence and public law and order sectors are recruited and paid according to special regulations.

There are also employees paid from the state budget but who are not civil servants (in education, healthcare and welfare, scientific research, culture, etc.); they have their own status and trade union organisations, and have the right to association, collective bargaining and strike.

The requirements that must be fulfilled to gain (each) such special status(es): i) pass a public examination; ii) achieve a certain tenure in the position; c) in terms of nationality; d) other specific conditions.

Entry to the body of civil servants is subject to public professional examinations pursuant to Law 188/1999 on the legal status of civil servants.

Central government. Please indicate whether and how this special employment status regulation applies to central government employees.

Similar rules apply to the entire public administration system.

Please fill in the following table:

Table 3. Status of central government employees
Year Total employees Public dignitaries Civil servants in managerial positions Executive civil servants

2003

97,142

282

10,404

86,456

2004

94,576

189

10,611

93,776

2005

101,451

271

10,758

90,422

Source: Data provided by the National Institute of Statistics

Note: *- data refer only to civil servants

Please indicate the elements of the employment relationship of central government employees which are regulated by:

Specific legislation.Collective bargaining.

In your answer, please refer specifically to elements such as recruitment procedures, pay (see also below), working time, work organisation, job security and employment protections, social security.

Recruitment, wage level, working hours, social and job security are regulated by law (Labour Code, Law regarding the regulations of civil servants).

Please, briefly illustrate whether and how reform of employment regulation in the central government sector since the 1990s has affected:

The status of workers.The balance between legislation and collective bargaining in regulating the various dimensions of the employment relationships.Other relevant industrial relations dimensions, such as representation, conflict and its regulation.

The system of general industrial relations regulations was changed entirely after 1990.

Law no. 188/1999 regarding the regulations of civil servants and the amendments to the Law on trade unions (RO0401107F) are the most relevant for central public administration.

Please, briefly illustrate whether and how reorganisation and restructuring in the central government sector since the 1990s, for instance through the establishment of special agencies or the separation of specific bodies and offices, has affected:

The status of significant groups of workers.The balance between legislation and collective bargaining in regulating the various dimensions of the employment relationships.Other relevant industrial relations dimensions, such as representation, conflict and its regulation.

Restructuring in the public administration system was carried out in compliance with Law no. 188/1999 regarding the regulations of civil servants, which also established the National Agency for Civil Servants (Agenţia Naţională a Funcţionarilor Publici, ANFP), Law no. 215/2001 on local public administration and Law 90/2001 regarding organisation and operation of the Romanian Government and the ministries.

3. Pay levels and determination

Please indicate:

The presence and relevance of collective bargaining on pay in the central government sector.

Pay level and wage setting are established by Government regulations.

The number and scope of bargaining units on pay within the central government sector.

Not the case.

Do minimum wage levels vary across the different bargaining units within the central government sector? Are there common minimum wage levels in the whole public sector?

According to the legislation in force in Romania, there is a single national minimum wage across all sectors, established by Government Decision.

Is there a single job classification system for the whole central government sector?

Yes. There is a single job classification system for the central public administration system.

Wage levels and wage increases in the central government and private sectors since 2000 (table 4). If there are great variations across bargaining units within the central government sector, please briefly illustrate such variations.

Not the case.

Table 4. Central government and private sector: wage levels and increases since 2000 (average)
Year Central government* Private sector
Level € Annual increase % Level € Annual increase %

2000

209.0

25.8

115.26

22.33

2001

227.1

8.7

132.17

14.67

2001

233.6

2.9

135.98

2.88

2003

263.6

12.8

145.38

6.91

2004

297.0

18.7

167.27

15.06

2005

424.4

42.9

222.72

33.15

Source: Calculations based on data provided by the National Institute of Statistics, ANFP and the National Bank of Romania.

Note:*- Data forcentral and local public government.The ratio between the highest and lowest wage the public administration system was 1:11.9 in 2003 and 1:14.9 in 2004.

The presence and relevance of variable performance-related pay in the central government sector. Please indicate whether variable pay is particularly relevant in certain bargaining units or organisational areas (for instance, top job positions, officers, or other occupations).

Certain positions in public institutions have varying wages, set against performance. For instance, in the case of the Financial Guard (Garda Financiară), Court of Accounts (Curtea de Conturi), institutions that administrate European funds, employees may receive additional pay for specific assignments.

Are there any form of “benchmarking” of wage dynamics in the central government sector with other public sectors or with the private sector? If yes, are industrial relations actors involved in such benchmarking activity?

The Government and employee organisations in the public sector are concerned with correlating the dynamics of wages in the central administration and top private sectors. The aim is to retain qualified and motivated personnel in the sector thus providing quality services to the citizens at large.

4. Union Presence and density

Please provide information on:

Trade unions which are present in the various bargaining units of the central government sector, their number, affiliation, representational domain, membership, and the sectoral union density (data by gender). Please fill in the following table:

Table 5. Trade unions
Union Affiliation Representational domain (group of workers represented) Bargaining units where the trade union is present Membership
 

the Federative Alliance of Civil Servants Trade Unions Sed Lex (Alianţa Federativă a Sindicatelor Funcţionarilor Publici Sed Lex, Alianţa Sed Lex),

includes 4 trade union federations by areas of activity:

1. the National Federation of Trade Unions in the Finance Sector (Federaţia Naţională a Sindicatelor din Finanţe, FNSF);

2. the National Federation of Trade Unions in the Local Public Administration (Federaţia Naţională a Sindicatelor din Administraţia Publică Locală, FNSAPL);

3. the National Federation of Labour and Social Protection Trade Unions (Federaţia Naţională a Sindicatelor Muncii şi Protecţiei Sociale, FNSMPS);

4. the National Federation of Civil Servants in the National Institute for Statistics (Federaţia Naţională a Funcţionarilor Publici din Institutul Naţional de Statistică, FNFPINS)

and 341 trade union organisations

At international level, to:

1. Public Services International (PSI)

2. European Federation of Public Services Unions (EPSU)

Central and local government (finance, labour, statistics, local administration)

Ministry of Public Finance (Ministerul Finanţelor Publice, MFP);

Ministry of Labour, Social Solidarity and Family (Ministerul Muncii, Solidarităţii Sociale şi Familiei, MMSSF)

Ministry of Administration and Interior (Ministerul Adminsitraţiei şi Internelor, MAI)

Their local specialised directorates

51,628

Sectoral union density

-

-

 

60%

N.B.: add further rows if required

Please provide information on the diffusion within the central government sector of craft unions, professional unions, or unions which are not affiliated to peak associations.

Not the case.

Are there any formal procedures or rules which aim to assess the representativeness of the various unions? If yes, please, briefly illustrate the content of such procedures or rules. Do these procedures or rules affect the access of the various unions to trade union prerogatives or to the bargaining table? If yes, please specify such effects and any possible limitations.

Trade union representativeness in any field, central public administration included, is obtained in compliance with Law 130/1996 and based on generally valid criteria.

5. Employer representation

Please provide information on:

Who does represent the central government at the bargaining table? Are there specific independent bodies, such as agencies, or negotiations are carried out under the responsibility of political actors, such as ministers?

The central administration is represented by the Ministry of Administration and Interior (Ministerul Administraţiei şi Internelor, MAI) and the National Agency for Public Servants (Agenţia Naţională a Funcţionarilor Publici, ANFP), a central specialised body of public administration, responsible for strategy, regulation, representation and management of human resources in the system. It was initially subordinated to the Government and since 2003 it has been a component part of the Ministry of Administration and Interior.

If negotiations are carried out by specific independent bodies, please indicate how they are organised. In particular, specify whether there are guidelines or other directives set by political actors and how the tasks of the independent bodies are carried out. For instance, negotiations have to follow specific stages?

Not the case.

If negotiations are carried under the direct responsibility of political actors, please indicate how they are organised. For instance, do negotiations take place under the responsibility of a single ministry, for instance the Finance Ministry, or are they carried out by a delegation or in a different way?

No. See item 1.

Do collective agreements in the central government sector have to pass an ex-post “validation” procedure, for instance to certify their compliance with budget constraints? If present, please briefly illustrate such procedure and the consequences of failure to pass it.

No.

6. Collective bargaining and conflict in central government

Please provide information on:

The structure of collective bargaining and, in particular, the number and scope of bargaining units, both at central (national) and decentralised (workplace and territorial) levels.

Collective bargaining is carried out at central level and covers all the areas of public administration.

The duration of agreements and the presence and content of peace obligations.

The validity of collective work agreements is two years, with the possibility of extension. The first collective agreement was concluded in 2003 and is still valid.

The main issues of collective bargaining by referring to the latest renewals.

The main issues are: relationships between the administration and civil servants and between the administration and trade union organisations. Collective bargaining is focused on: working hours and conditions, occupational health and safety, vacations and public holidays; vocational training and other rights and responsibilities of civil servants. Collective bargaining does not involve wage-setting although it represents the main concern of trade unions (RO0409102F).

Levels and recent trends in conflict.

The number of work conflicts in public administration, defence and welfare in the public system evolved as follows: three in the interval 2002 - 2003 and one each in 2004 and 2005; the number of participating employees was 544 in 2002, 829 in 2003, 521 in 2004 and 80 in 2005.

The presence and main features of forms of regulation of labour conflict and collective dispute resolution procedures. Please indicate whether such rules are specific to the central government sector, or apply to the whole public sector, or are general and cover both public and private sectors.

The regulations for collective conflict resolution are no different from the general rules stipulated in the Law on work conflicts.

7. Commentary by the NC

Please:

Specify the main issues on the agenda of industrial relations in the central government sector in your country.Cover any further issues which are relevant in your country but have not been covered by previous questions.Provide your own comments on industrial relations in the central government sector in your country

A longstanding, major concern on the agenda of trade unions is the promotion of a law regulating the single and unitary wage system for civil servants.

In addition, the pay level is currently generating tensions and will probably continue to do so (RO0608039I), given that the monthly average net wage in public administration in the month of June 2006 was only EUR 365.

Romania’s integration in the European Union, on 1 January 2007, might bring to the fore claims and issues related to new regulations and aspects of industrial relations in the central administration. We are referring to the comparability of both the status and the rights of civil servants.

Bearing in mind the fact that employees in the public sector still hold a high percentage of the total number of employees in the national economy, chain reaction claims could have a negative effect on the state budget.

Luminita Chivu, Institute of National Economy, Romanian Academy.

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