Where’s our ten per cent?

Showing that they have in fact learnt nothing over the past two weeks, Romania’s delightful parliamentarians yesterday gave new prime minister Dacian Ciolos a huge ‘fuck you’ of a welcome by voting to award all (yes, all) civil servants (known as bugetari in Romanian) a ten per cent pay rise in time for Christmas. Shortly before voting on another issue entirely (a 25 per cent pay rise for health sector staff), an MP from the PSD, Andrei Solomon, tagged on an amendment handing all civil servants a wad of cash from taxpayers’ pockets, effective from December 1st. Despite the fact that the pay rise will cost a whopping five billion lei per year to implement (money the government does not have), and that no feasibility study has been carried out into its viability, all but five of the 316 MPs present yesterday voted in favour. The leader of the erstwhile opposition, Alina Gorghiu, said after the vote: ‘now we have voted for it, we will do a feasibility study.’ Call us naive, but we thought feasibility studies were usually carried out before decisions were made?

It will now be up to Klaus Iohannis, the Romanian president, to approve or reject the pay rise. Whatever he decides, he will piss off a large number of people. That he and the new prime minister have been put in this position is ridiculous. More evidence that the Romanian parliament needs serious reform (and, once and for all, a reduction is size: a unicameral parliament of 300 MPs – as Romanians voted for in a 2009 referendum – is more than enough).

Of course, there are Romanian civil servants who probably deserve a 10 per cent pay rise. We can think of many who deserve a 200 per cent pay rise. But there is an equally large number who need to be kicked out of their jobs altogether. The idea that every civil servant deserves a pay rise is simply daft: has nobody ever heard of performance related pay? How can you possibly group firemen together with the awful jobsworths at the tax or post office?

Anyway, this will be a real test for Iohannis: if he has any balls he will torpedo the pay rise. We are alas not sure that he does. He will therefore hand a massive problem to the new government, which will need to find five billion lei from somewhere: either taxes will have to be raised or cuts made to infrastructure investment projects. Doing either will play into the hands of the PSD and – to a certain extent – the PNL. What’s clear is that the two zombie parties who have together stripped Romania of its wealth and assets for 25 years are going nowhere without a fight. We might be back on the streets sooner than we thought.

Meantime, who’s going to give us a ten per cent pay rise?


62 thoughts on “Where’s our ten per cent?

  1. ”He will therefore hand a massive problem to the new government, which will need to find five billion lei from somewhere: either taxes will have to be raised or cuts made to infrastructure investment projects. Doing either will play into the hands of the PSD and – to a certain extent – the PNL”

    With economical growth projections, and major increase of tax collections (and we are talking about tens of billions of RON per year extra) even if VAT on food items was reduced to 9%. I think there won’t be any tax-hikes even if they would increase salaries with 10%.

    I do agree though with your argument it should be (more) performance related.


    1. That’s not how it works. The economic growth is sustained by growth in the industrial sector, a good performance in the agricultural sector and by a large degree by the increase in salaries of the civil servants in the previous 2 years. Do the numbers yourself, sector by sector and notice that more than 1% of the growth can’t be explained by growth in the private sectors. Now, the industrial sector growth cannot be relied upon for next year (for example, Romanian industry is heavily dependent of the european automobiles sector and since Germany takes a big hit with the VW scandal, so will the Romanian industrial sector). Agriculture depends on the weather and that leaves off just the growth in salaries for civil servants which can’t sustain their own growth, obviously…
      So while consumption picks up with these measures, with no return of serious public investments, no improvement in the absorbtion rate of EU funds, sustaining these pay increases means more taxes for the private sector, which in turns also means that they will reduce their own investments. It’s simple math.
      This is why such a decision is so outrageous. Now, with luck, agriculture keeps growing next year and industry doesn’t take that big of a hit, or services & commerce picks up and compensate – but those are a lot of big “IF”-s… it’s also worse for the private sector, because they were the only ones holding this whole sham in place and the taxes kept rising with nothing in return for them. And this trend just continues. It’s absurd!


      1. I did the math in a previous comment. Fact is that 10% is little compared to what Romania can afford.

        In 2008 the salaries of civil servants were at least 25% bigger in nominal terms than they are today because they included some incentives which the Emil Boc government had cut immediately when they came to power.

        And the apparatus was more oversized than it is today (today it’s oversized too, I agree). So we’ve been there, we’ve done that, it’s noting unusual.


  2. Aw, come on, I really hope your question at the end there was ironic. As if you could ever compare the income of a new media employee with ties to England to the awful pay bugetars make each month. Call me naive, pseudosocialist or a utopian fool but how the hell are post office bugetari meant to get a payrise on the back of their performance credentials with absolutely no incentives (emotional, human, financial, or any other type of incentives) to perform better? And what does it mean to perform better anyway? Posting more parcels to the diaspora? Receiving a record number of parcels from one’s half-Spanish cousin per day? As if Romania has got the KPIs in place to actually measure this and award proportional and accurate percentages to civil servants who excel at their jobs. Because when you work in a shitty neighbourhood post office dealing with obnoxious teens and pensioners day after day after day only to have to spend your salary on the cable bill and your mortgage, the thing you ache to do is offer flipping good customer service. Come on! You talk as if you haven’t been living in this country for well over a decade or whatever. I do not doubt that the payrise (a very significant one and very surprising to be frank) is not feasible, but the very principle itself is respectable imho. It’s a sign of respect in a country that treats its civil servants like crap and the demonises them for not being perpetually smiling efficiency machines.


    1. No, I wasn’t being ironic. Any pay rise for civil servants comes straight out of the pockets of private sector tax payers. Me. As I said in the post, I am more than happy to see certain parts of the public sector paid far better than they are now. But the truth is that vast numbers of Romanian civil servants are utterly redundant and should have been made so a long, long time ago. Unemployment is relatively low in Romania, not least in Bucharest where there is little excuse for not having a job. The private sector could easily incorporate those civil servants made redundant (I was a redundant civil servant once, by the way).

      The whole point is that it’s time to stop seeing the Romanian state as some endless money tree. No more money for old rope.


      1. Thanks for your answer. You may be more up to date than I am re: the unemployment situation. Will look into this when I go home this Xmas.


      2. I don’t know…I’d be for getting rid of unnecessary jobs (i.e. the number of different agencies and hoops you have to jump through to register a car for example), but what would happen to the workers who are nearing retirement, have bugger all opportunity and prospects of securing a new job, and have spent all their lives putting envelopes in boxes? Out on the street with a song and a prayer?


      3. Or it’s simply because they’re that angry and frustrated – they just can’t cope … It’s actually pretty tragic the mental illnesses and unhappiness in people’s lives, that they allow such pointless elements to upset them so much.

        “What did you do with your life?”

        I spent a large majority of it getting angry, abusive, ranting about strangers spelling and grammar on the Internet.

        You’ve got to pity someone like the above – but if I’m keeping someone of that ilk occupied and not abusing or stalking someone else … I’m actually serving a meaningful purpose 🙂


      4. What in the world are you dribbling on about


      5. I must have really got under your skin:)

        But please take your weird stalking elsewhere (email me in private if you like or I’d happily meet up so you can rant at me to my face) if it will make you feel better?

        But you’re just ruining the forum now – so in the interest of everyone else and not least Craig, please take your childish stalking elsewhere, or send me a few angry emails instead … Don’t ruin someone else’s hard work.

        Just ask if you need my contact details and you can stalk me and post your angry childish abuse in a domain which doesn’t affect anyone else, do we have a deal ?


      6. Game set and match above … He’s clearly lost the plot 🙂

        Find someone else to stalk, you’re just a tragic middle aged man having a crisis for all to see … It’s just a shame you’ve got to have it here – and ruin the forum.

        Have you no respect for Craig and the forum users ?

        Why don’t you just quit being a child, and grow up ?

        If I anger you so much, why not tackle me away from here?

        Nobody wants to read your desperate and bizarre behaviour – so my offer is still open, bring your angry rants and childish antics to me in person or in private correspondence … What’s stopping you, or are you a faceless coward and internet troll ?

        Have some respect for the forum and its users anon – you’re embarrassing and quite frankly a tragic man, but there is help out there, mental health issues isn’t something to be ashamed of … I can post some links if you like ?

        Genuine advice here … perhaps give your laptop a rest for a few days – leave the house and try and find some happiness in your life … Getting so upset and abusive can’t be good for your health.


      7. Worrying times – of late I’m finding myself agreeing with much of what Craig says.

        It’s a massive test for Iohhanis and similarities with dodgy Dave and his pitiful behaviour over the MP’s pay rise of £7000 in the UK recently.

        You can also gauge similarities with the U.K. public sector too – overpaid and underworked non entities at Whitehall for example or overworked and underpaid nurses – just as one example.

        Sadly it seems Romania is similar in that respect.

        Perhaps 2015 will go down as a very significant year in Romanian politics … Good or bad, or perhaps a bit of both !


      8. Oh c’mon, let them be…

        In the end – more money in consumption means more money for businesses.

        Civil servants are not pensioners to spend only on food and medicine, they spend in all areas of the economic spectrum: vacations, consumers goods, real estate, automotive, luxury etc… the entire economy will benefit (and us indirectly).


      9. Parmoham

        Actually I agree with you, more money able to spend in the Romanian economy is a good thing, as you say.

        But if I’ve understood Craig correctly – he’s saying the increases in wages should be given to those most deserving within the civil service, which would still enable what you want to happen – but let’s grant those most deserving a pay hike – not increase the well paid and work shy who inhabit the “top jobs”


      10. It’s impossible to make such differences and valuations.

        Civil servants belong to ministries: policemen and firefighters belong to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, doctors belong to the Ministry of Health, office clerks belong to the Ministry of Administration, military belong to the Ministry of Defense etc…

        But they are also represented by pan-ministerial laws and statutes: policemen have their own statute, teachers and office clerks fall under the same statute, military have their own statute, intelligence officers have their own statute etc…

        So in some cases it’s not possible by law to raise salaries of a single category or to singular workers and in the rest of cases it’s not possible by moral implications (at least for the fact that you’re gonna have the other ones going on strikes).

        The fact that Ponta decided earlier this year to raise the salaries of doctors by 25% was an exceptional move, which immediately brought some of the other categories (including police) on the verge of general strike. They were only settled by negotiations and the promise that they will get their own rise.

        Which had just happened…


      11. Point taken Parmoham, I’d wrongfully assumed it was similar set up to the UK – where nurses, teachers, council workers, fire, police, civil service etc etc were all public sector workers … Always gracious enough to be educated as we can’t know everything about everything (well normal people anyway) I’m sure a selected special few – would be angered by someone not knowing everything about everything 🙂

        But if you don’t know – ask or research, so cheers Parmo … Although I’m sure the distribution of salary increases, could be made to the most deserving ?

        I’d be amazed if this was the case ?


  3. There are two worst-case scenarios. The first is Iohannis doesn’t veto it, resulting in protests, strikes, or walk-outs from civil servants, resulting in mobs settling scores with them. Iohannis does veto it, with the mobs going after him. I think he knows this and will choose to protect his presidency.


    1. On one hand I want him to enrage the masses and accelerate the collaspe of the political class, on the other hand I want him to veto it and show that at least one politician there has the balls to stand up for what’s right.
      Personally I’d be up for linking any MP’s pay to their job performance just like in any field. Not turning up to debate a motion or vote for example is simply not showing up for work and should be punished with a day of unpaid leave. The idea of something like that happening Europe wide would be hilarious…UKIP’s few ministers would lose most of the 11million quid they steal from the taxpayer every year…


    2. Probably right expatescu, as dodgy Dave chose to protect his position with his peers, and not make a significant song and dance about the MP’s pay hike in these austerity laden times – and was willing to upset the electorate, perhaps because he’s got his extra 5 years and he could conveniently hide behind the “independent” body who thought MP’s were worth a £7000 pay rise.

      Interesting times ahead.


  4. I think it’s a wonderful measure which comes at times of unusually low inflation, negative inflation even.

    It’s a boost which the economy needs, a bit like what the ECB is doing throughout the Euro Zone: aim at supporting economic growth by flooding the markets with money in times of unusually low inflation.

    And the Romanian parliament is doing it in a more effective way: spreading money throughout the society instead of funneling money through banks(ters).

    Where does our 10% pay rise come from?

    For example my pay rise comes from the policy of reduction of taxes (specifically the VAT) which the government has undertaken in the last year. To be more precise: VAT drops from 24% to 20% which basically counteracts the USD rise of the coming months, as I import products from outside the European Union.

    Where will the government take money from?

    Romanian economy is worth around 200 bln $ and – with all measures considered – I expect it to grow by at least 4% in 2016.

    Government spending (aka BUDGET) comes at around 35% of GDP so if we do the maths:

    Romania GDP (2016) = 200 bln $ + 4% = 208 bln $
    Govt spending (2015) = 200 bln $ * 0.35 = 70 bln $
    Govt spending (2016) = 208 bln $ * 0.35 = 73 bln $

    So Romania’s budget in 2016 will register a surplus of roughly 3 bln $.

    Out of these 3 bln $, roughly around 1.3 bln $ will be used to support this rise in wages so we can see – not even that the country has enough money – but there is also a lot of space to go.


  5. These guys are novices at this. Here in the U.S., our congress just puts in an automatic annual pay raise. This avoids drawing attention to the raise by not having to hold an annual or periodic vote. But I’m sure your guys will figure out the advantages of this nifty autopilot technique. All governments eventually figure this stuff out.


  6. Open the borders !!!!

    Let’s open up the civilised world to mindless terrorists and radical extremists !!!

    You can take your EU and open borders – and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine – what a shocking sad day for normal people and democracy.

    My thoughts go out to the people involved and their innocent families …

    It’s not the first time these type of things have happens and sadly won’t be the last – but let’s take in and allow more and more of these extremists to go where they please, let’s have no control on our borders and let’s have undemocratic overpaid fat men in suits deciding to wage war and provoking tension in Syria et al …

    It shouldn’t need events like this to be a catylst for regaining nation states security and actually controlling their borders and getting rid of people who’ve no concept of decency – it’s the ONLY positive I can possibly imagine out of such a tragic event (that we may become safer) – but nobody would want it to happen this way !

    Tightening borders, controlling who can and can’t enter a country, stopping the wave of so called refugees and stopping playing God in the Middle East, Africa etc and power mad men in suits from the EU doing as they please on behalf of 500 million people … It’s all part of the problem – and I hope this may be swinging the scales of democracy and safety, and the U.K. removing itself from the undemocratic EU and strengthening our national security …

    But let’s pray this is the last time we see such sickening events … But if cultures and mindsets like this can go where they please in the civilised world – nowhere is safe.

    Time for a few people to wake up to a problem that is real.



    1. Why am I not surprised that you’re abusing the deaths of innocent people in order to make a political statement. Disgusting behavior.


      1. Why am I not surprised you’re stalking and ruining the forum continues with your childish name changing – nor am I surprised in your mock outrage and appearing to condone these shocking events to defend your beloved European Union.

        Make yourself known publically to the French people anon – tell them their president is wrong to tighten its borders and wrong to condemn the radical extremists and question those who provoke them …

        You’ll do nothing of the sort of course, cowards and internet trolls like you never would.

        You’ve probably got as low as you can on this forum – apparently happy to condone this appalling tragic event, all in the name of trolling someone who makes you angry.

        Scum like you won’t win anon … Countries will have to reevaluate Islamic state and our national security including strengthening our borders – so get angered by me all you like, keep your childish name changing, staking and ruining the forum – you won’t silence me or millions of other people, nor will you silence the French President either.

        You’re as low as the people you support – scum.



      2. You have no idea what you’re talking about do you?
        Their bodies are not even cold yet and you’re busy abusing them to suite your own desires.


      3. I’d argue the one who needs help is the bloke whose so angered he has now resorted to changing his username on an Internet forum – by anyone’s standards, that’s one twisted and sad individual with a cry for help.

        Oh and on your latest ill informed rants – I’m only repeating what Hollande, BBC, Sky, Reuteurs etc etc etc etc etc etc are all saying or reporting on … So you can rant and rage all you like, because you won’t stop me saying what millions of others are too.

        As I said originally, it’s a tragic set of circumstances, and nobody right minded wanted this kind of thing to happen to accelerate changes – but if any positive can be taken in the aftermath … And that’s the future safety of others, then these people didn’t die in vain.

        But I wouldn’t expect a man like you to understand that – as your simply an Internet troll whose so obsessed with a complete stranger, that you keep changing your username and hijack every single thread and ruin any chance of a debate.

        The fact that it appears you’re using this tragic event solely to troll me and appearing to support the acts of terrorism … Says a lot more about you, than it does me.

        But you were the man who posted homophobic slurs, bullied a women from here (prisoner of your eyes) degrade Romanian women with your “easy to pick up” lurid remarks and support the free movement of terrorists … So it’s little surprise you appear to support a regime that is anti women and homophobic to its core.

        I’d ask on behalf of everyone to take your trolling and ruining of a great forum elsewhere – but sadly you’ll just continue with your selfish act, it’s all you appear to have in your life, which again explains a lot.

        You won’t stop me though anon, so it’s a ‘battle’ you can’t win 🙂

        Have a nice day, try logging off and living your life, you only one go at it 😉


      4. Do you have an original thought in your tiny little brain or are you only able to spurt out the same predictable, angry rants over and over?
        LOL@winning ‘battles’ on the Internet.


      5. I don’t see it as a battle as I’m not the one trolling or changing my username to mimic a complete stranger … One who you described as an idiot – so that then begs the question … Why do you stalk and allow yourself to be angered by such an idiot ?

        Too easy this anon 🙂

        You’ll find people like you who use the “I’m more educated, better and intelligent than you” card, along with rants about spelling and typos lol – are often hypocritical insecure types …

        Speeking of witch 🙂 on the subject of speaking as bodies are still warm to make a political point …

        YOU are the man who did exactly the same after the tragic fire in Bucuresti, with your I’ll judged Ponta rant, when you claimed he wouldn’t quit LOL

        So not only are you a hypocritical fool, your ill judged views were wrong too 🙂

        Oh dear – someone’s going to be very angry when he refreshes this page to see if his obsession has commented again !

        You know you’re an angry troll, with an unhealthy obsession – but people with such distasteful views such as your ones on women and homosexuals, deserve everything you get 🙂

        Oh and before you ask, I’m not sorry one bit for making you angry, it’s actually quite amusing !

        Have a nice day 😉


      6. http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0T22QA20151114

        President Hollande of France speaks hours after the dreadful attacks – he speaks of border control, as I have.

        This results in a very angry anonymous man on the Internet 🙂

        But aside from the resident angry troll, whose hijacked any mature discussion – it’s long overdue a complete rethink on the Islamic state problem, and how easy it is to cross borders legally or illegally, and the many terrorists that come from cultures not similar to ours …

        Isis are on record as saying they’ll use the ‘migrant crisis’ to flood Europe with terrorists – but the highly paid pro EU fanatics didn’t listen – shame on you.


      7. If your last childish rant is your attempt at a definition of irony – I’d give you a 10/10 for that anon.

        A man whose spent his entire Saturday changing his user name to attempt to mock a bloke he claims doesn’t bother him and has used lol and capital lettered haha, is seriously questioning my maturity?

        You do make me laugh, if nothing else 🙂

        I’m not sure I’ve seen you ever have a reaonable debate without resorting to childish quips about spelling and grammar, abusive name calling, name changing, lying etc etc …… And you’ve the front to call me childish !

        Priceless and comedic irony, from a bloke whose actually proving to be quite the fool.

        Have a good evening Sir.

        I await to see if you’re capable of debating in a mature manner, alas I won’t be holding my breath. I’ll be correct as usual.


      8. ‘rant/rant/
        speak or shout at length in an angry, impassioned way.
        a spell of ranting; a tirade.’

        I know you don’t exactly have a good grasp of the English language, but two lines is hardly a rant.
        Keep clutching those straws little monkey boy.


      9. Actually I’m humble enough to admit I don’t have a perfect grasp of the English language, but who does? I’m not as good as some, but better than others. It’s hardly worth getting angry about is it?

        I guess some don’t waste their life allowing spelling and grammar to make them angry – some do though, I know what side I’d rather be on 🙂

        I’ve got to say, have I made you change your user name at least 24 times in the last 24 hours :))))) now that’s some display of anger and frustration, by anyone’s standards!

        But I do know in getting to you, you don’t like the truth of being humiliated by someone you deem inferior to you, but I can’t help it, you leave yourself wide open!

        If my less than perfect grasp of English or indeed typos etc gives you a purpose in life, at least I’m doing my bit for society – and you’re not stalking or abusing anyone else.

        Now if you don’t mind, is there anychance you can get back on topic, or are you hell bent on ruining yet another thread?

        The offer to contact me in private, and to remove your angry stalking from this forum is still open …….

        What’s stopping you?

        Or are you a coward whose content to ruin the hard work of Craig and ruin it for everyone else?


      10. Your life would be pretty empty if I didn’t.

        I assume you’re going to impersonate Geronimo again soon, or just keep following my every post and be forced into changing your user name to mimic mine, as you’ve done for a over a year now.

        I suppose people will be asking themselves – is this really the behaviour of a middle aged, educated man, with a wonderful life lol … I think you’ve been unmasked son.

        Although I’m sure you’re not abusive to women, homophobic and as foul mouthed away from the anonymity of your laptop, you’re too much of a coward for that 😉

        But there’s definitely something seedy and murky about you, that’s for sure. The manner in which you spoke of sex tourism, homophobia and abusive to women and poor Romanian people was telling.


      1. Says the bloke who’s spent his entire weekend changing his username around 30 times because a stranger who doesn’t bother him, is well er – bothering him lol

        Keep calm and stop impersonating other posters like you did with Geronimo !

        Taps keepnet 😉


    1. Looks like you’ve angered the forum stalker Reaguard – although all the conspiracy bollocks is a bit weird though … Almost as weird as changing your username because a strangers upset you, but not quite as tragic as that 🙂


    2. We should kill all damned muslims in the world. The Soviets had experimented with Ebola and Marburg virus, I hope they release it in Saudi Arabia first!

      If I ever put my hand on a gun, I swear I’m gonna do justice to all victims of muslims from 9/11 to Bataclan theatre!


      1. “If I ever put my hand on a gun, I swear I’m gonna do justice to all victims of muslims from 9/11 to Bataclan theatre!”…………..Take out the word muslims and replace it with Israelis.


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