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Romanian Supreme Court overturns pay cuts for judges

Romania’s Supreme Court said on Thursday it had irrevocably overturned a Finance Ministry decision to cut pay for judges. The decision also highlighted the battle the government faces in cutting spending to meet IMF demands.

The court rejected an appeal by the Finance Ministry on a similar ruling by a lower court last month.

“Finance Minister Gheorghe Pogea’s appeal was rejected as being unfounded,” a Supreme Court spokeswoman said, adding “The decision is final and irrevocable”.

The government wants to reduce the wage bill of its bloated public sector and meet demands from international lenders after securing a 20-billion-euro aid package in March and it needs to cut spending to bring the 2009 budget deficit to 7.3 percent of GDP.

Analysts warn this will become increasingly difficult in coming months as the ruling parties vie for support ahead of a presidential election late in the year.

“Obviously this is a sign of rigidity in state spending and I expect strong opposition from trade unions anytime the state decides to cut state spending,” said ING Bank’s Nicolaie Alexndru-Chidesciuc.

“The ministry had sought to scrap judges’ “workplace stress” bonus payments, which amount to 50 per cent of their salaries,” Alexndru-Chidescuc said.

Judges additionally receive other bonuses totalling up to 85 per cent of net wages, which range between 4,000 and 5,000 lei a month (1,320 dollars to 1,650 dollars).

The average wage in Romania was 1,379 lei in June.( Courtesy: Reuters/NAN)


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