Protest Against the Initiative to Transfer the Responsibility of Paying Social Contributions

strikeToday, November 3rd 2017, Mahala – The Militant Workers’ Community carried out an action of non-violent civil disobedience in front of the Ministry of Labour. We protested the government’s initiative of transferring the responsibility of paying social contributions from the employer towards the employee, in other words on the shoulders of the working class.

In 2011, the PDL (Liberal Democrat Party) Government, in cooperation with the American Chamber for Commerce in Romania and the Council of Foreign Investors of Romania, and pressured by the Troika, introduced a flexibilization of Labour Law and of the legislation that articulates social dialogue. Now, the new Ministry of Labour, this time under the tutelage of PSD-ALDE (Social Democratic Party – The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats), seeks to take the flexibilization of labour relations one step further; they want to achieve this by transferring contributions from the employer to the employee. Recent history has shown us that this neoliberal discourse of flexibilization translates to a pauperization and vulnerabilization of workers, eliminating a part of their rights. Of course, the big winners are the bosses, christened entrepreneurs or employers, the ones that appear to be gaining more and more power and profit.

The Romanian state promised that it would create a dialogue with its social partners, but it has so far managed only to deepen the already existing tensions between them, by taking the side of the employers. As all meetings aiming towards a functional social dialogue have failed, our gesture becomes even more legitimate. What is more, the government’s display of boundless arrogance and carelessness has demonstrated that social dialogue is little more than a bad joke for them, therefore making our protest even more legitimate.

Today’s protest was meant to denounce the inequality, poverty, and the abuses of power that working class people face on a daily basis. Their condition is worsened by disastrous public polices implemented by an authoritarian system which facilitates the creation of wealth by capital holders. Through our action we hope to raise awareness towards this pressing matter! At the same time, we hope once more to spread our message to all workers, as well as to groups and organizations that represent their interests, urging them to act against the government’s intentions on the matter. Only through solidarity and unity can we properly pressure those in power to leave our already meager rights intact.

Mahala (The Slum) is an informal group as well as an organizational platform, built around common values such as social justice, human dignity, equality (on a political, economical, and gender level), liberty, consensus, solidarity, anti-authoritarianism, and others. Our goal is to act towards the solidarization of workers and worker groups from both the formal and informal (black collar) economy, on a national as well as on an international level.

Mahala – Comunitatea Muncitorilor Militanţi