Romanian Health Minister sued for not declaring epidemic situation

A health trade union, Sanitas Health Federation, has sued Romanian Health Minister Nelu Tătaru, asking the judiciary to force the minister to declare in an official document that there is an epidemic situation in Romania.

Under the legislation in force during a pandemic, medical workers are entitled to a 55-85 percent salary increase, but due to the lack of a document officially declaring that there is an epidemic in Romania, most of the hospitals have not increased salaries.

“The World Health Organization declared the pandemic on March 11. Five months have passed and there is still no legally binding document declaring that there is an epidemic situation within Romania as well.”

– explained Kovászna/Covasna County President of Sanitas Health Federation, Vasile Neagovici, to szekelyhon.ro on Monday. He also added that in the first weeks, they thought it was only some sort of administrative failure, but since then, the trade union has unsuccessfully been trying to urge the ordinance’s adoption on every possible official channel.

“We came to the conclusion that they are intentionally not declaring the epidemic situation to avoid the law’s application and the payment of bonuses.

Not having any other solution left, we turned to the judiciary to force the adoption of the ordinance,” said Neagovici.

Sanitas has also developed a model for the action. Each local union should go to court asking for their unpaid bonuses since March 11 from the Health Ministry or from the local government, whichever is responsible for the maintenance of the local hospital.

Neagovici also mentioned that about 40 percent of hospitals have paid bonuses to their employees even without the necessary ordinance, which only caused great dissatisfaction among the employees of the other 60 percent.

According to the health trade union, the cabinet and the parliament have already adopted multiple laws to “reward” medical staff working on the pandemic’s frontline, but only some of the laws have been applied while some have not due to the lack of money, as financial sources have not been assigned. (szekelyhon.ro)


Title image: Illustration from a 2016 Sanitas strike (Photo: romaniajournal.ro)

Author: Attila Szoó