Tens of thousands of Romanian public workers took to the streets of Bucharest protest at planned pay cuts aimed at shoring up the country’s shaky economy.
Their pay packets will shrink by 25 percent as part of an IMF-brokered deal, while pensions funds will be cut by 15 percent.
Romania must slash public spending to receive any of the remaining 8-billion euros from a 20-billion-euro aid package agreed last year.
But unions argue ordinary people are bearing the brunt for politicians’ shoddy economic management.
One protesting policeman said it should be government ministers made to feel the pinch of a lighter wallet.
“We are working day and night and doing unpaid overtime. All the police unions from all over the country are here and we will be back if necessary,” he said, declining to give his name.
One female protester conceded the possibility of a U-turn on the cuts was “unrealistic.”
“The politicians are not being honest about what will happen to us,” he said.
Romania aims to close its fiscal deficit from 7.2 percent last year to 6.8 percent in 2011.
Without the planned reforms, the IMF says that will rise to 9 percent — three times the limit allowed under EU rules.