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Romania: Teachers Strike To Protest Low Wages

Bucharest, 11 March 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Some 350,000 teachers from across Romania staged a one-day strike today to protest their low wages, which have not kept pace with double-digit inflation. The strike was organized by the main teachers' trade union, the Alliance of Education Unions, which said the government's recent offer of a 5 percent salary hike was unsatisfactory.

Inflation was about 30 percent last year and is expected to be just over 20 percent this year. Teachers want a monthly base salary of $56, compared to the current base of $34.

As in other professions which are paid from the state budget, teachers have grown poorer since communism ended in 1989. Most need to supplement their incomes by giving private lessons. The average monthly salary in Romania is about $110.

Teachers also want the government to provide them with extra benefits, such as free school meals.