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Bucharest public transport strike - 4th day and counting

Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea
Bucuresti depou tramvai STB

The wildcat strike at the Bucharest Transport Company (STB) - the city's public transport operator - entered its fourth day on Sunday, with the majority of the drivers further staying off the road. The company management announced that 25 percent of the scheduled operating fleet - that is 183 vehicles of a total of 791 - were working.

STB trade unionists stopped work on Thursday morning, dissatisfied that their wage grievances have not been met, and demanding also the resignation of the company's general manager Adrian Crit.

Whereas the management accuses the Bucharest Transporters' Union of manipulating the workers in this conflict, union representatives have insisted that this is not a strike but a voluntary work stoppage and that the protest was neither initiated, nor organized by the union, but sparked by the rundown material resources, the improper working conditions and the rise in occupational diseases among the drivers.

The Bucharest Tribunal ruled on Friday that the STB strike is illegal and ordered the immediate resumption of service.

Bucharest General Mayor Nicusor Dan warned on Saturday that the STB drivers who disregard the ruling and do not return to work risk being fired.

"There is on the one hand the Criminal Code that details the situation of non-compliance with a court decision and also sets forth the sanctions carried by such a violation, (...) and on the other hand there is an employment contract which provides for rights and obligations - the obligation to perform the job you are paid for - with a set of gradual sanctions, including the termination of the contract," Nicusor Dan told a press conference on Saturday after a meeting of the STB Board of Directors.

He emphasized that "the era of mafia-type and party-driven trade unionism is over in Romania".

"Today there have been many instances of flare-ups of this mafia-type trade unionism. There were people in depots who tried to get out to do the work they are being paid for and who were intimidated to the point of being assaulted by trade unionists, by union representatives. Let me get this message through very clearly: this is unacceptable in a state governed by the rule of law, and this cannot remain without consequences in a state governed by law," the Bucharest General Mayor said.

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