Nine thousand Romanian miners to be laid off in 2006

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Romania's mining industry is gradually being restructured and downsized to comply with European Union competition laws

Approximately 9,000 Romanian miners will be made redundant in 2006, slightly more than the 7,000 which are expected to be laid off this year. This comes as part of a government program for 2005-2008 which seeks to maximise efficiency in Romania's mining industry, as well as reduce the number of mines and quarries in the country, while progressively bringing down the number of workers in this industry. As agreed with the European Union as part of accession negotiations, Romania must cease to provide major state aid to mining companies after 2007, when the country will become a member of the EU. Until then, it must gradually reduce subsidies to state-owned mining companies, in order to comply with European Union competition law.

Romania's mining industry currently employs 47,000 people, quite significantly less than the 175,000 it employed in 1997, before restructuring took place. A major reform in the industry took place between 1997-2000. This time around, from 2004 onwards, restructuring is expected to be more gradual. Out of the workers who have been laid off from 1997 onwards, around 100,000 have accepted voluntary redundancy, while 8,000 have retired and 12,000 have found other jobs in the private sector. By 2010, the government expects that more than 340 mining units will be closed throughout the country.