Like in Romania, the EU can – and must – support workers’ aspirations

From Brussels to Bucharest: the EU can and must make a difference for working people.

Like in Romania, the EU can – and must – support workers’ aspirations

On 6 March 2024, UNI Europa, the European Services Workers Union, organised a political meeting between European and Romanian trade union representatives with European parliamentarians in Bucharest. Participants discussed success stories of Romanian workers organising for better conditions, national and European legislative milestones, and collaborative efforts that have empowered Romanian workers across various sectors.

Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI Europa, set the tone: “Collective bargaining empowers workers to have a real say at work, opening a path where strength lies in unity, fairness in negotiation, and progress in collaboration. It’s the cornerstone of democracy within the workplace, ensuring dignity, equity, and shared prosperity for all.”  

Dan Paraschiv from Federatia Sindicatelor din Asigurari si Banci (FSAB) and Florentin Iancu from Sindicatul IT Timișoara (SITT) – both member unions of UNI – highlighted the success of collective bargaining in Romania’s banking sector, a testament to the power of unity and negotiation in securing fair working conditions and rights for 25,000 workers 

The Romanian workers’ representatives mentioned that the ICTS, commerce and finance sectors will use the EU Directive on Adequate Minimum Wage to push for collective bargaining and set proper minimum wages.  

They also shared the challenge of low collective bargaining coverage in the private sector in Romania. with many workers in precarious economic situations. Therefore, they consider the target set out in the EU Directive on Minimum Wages to reach 80 per cent collective bargaining coverage very significant. Their unions are committed to fight for achieving the target for Romanian workers.  

Vasile Gogescu from UNI member union Federatia Sindicatelor din Comert (FSC) recounted a legislative milestone—Romania’s 2022 law on collective bargaining and social dialogue. After years of decline, this legislation allowed for a resurgence in worker organising. Its improvements for workers’ rights include:

  • company-level collective bargaining (though not conclusion of an agreement) becomes obligatory for employers with at least ten employees; 
  • a company-level presence can be established by a trade union when it has at least 15 members; 
  • a union can win recognition on the company level when 35 per cent of employees are members (previously the threshold was 50 per cent +1); 
  • unions can secure recognition at the sectoral level if they represent at least 5 per cent of the workers in the sector; 
  • multi-employer and sector-level bargaining is facilitated and, in some cases, sectoral agreements can be made binding upon the whole sector; 
  • cross-sectoral collective agreements are legalised once more; 
  • strike action is made easier and nationwide strikes become legal; 
  • employers need to provide information to, and consult with, worker representatives on more topics, and 
  • barriers to workers gaining access to trade unions are lifted. 

It would have not been possible without relentless trade union efforts and support from the European Union in the form of the Directive, which had a direct effect on the passing of the law. The new Romanian law should serve as a model for other EU member states seeking to implement the EU Directive. 

Member of European Parliament Dennis Radtke (EPP, Germany), a key figure in its Employment and Social Affairs Committee and in passing the EU Directive, underlined the importance of reaching the 80 per cent collective bargaining coverage across all EU member states. Worker advocacy efforts are tightly linked to legislative frameworks in driving meaningful social change – and recently the European Union has played a positive role in this context.  

Dennis Radtke shared his delight upon hearing the positive stories: “These achievements were what I hoped for when I drafted and negotiated the minimum wage directive. I am very happy to see how this work has contributed to workers in Romania being better represented and better paid. This is an important difference that we can make together with the European project.”  

Through collective action, legislative advocacy, and unwavering solidarity, Romanian workers are charting a path toward a future defined by fairness and dignity. Now it is up to other member states to replicate and build on this success.  

More information here: 

Meetings & Events




PHSDialogue Project: 1st PHS Social Dialogue Plenary Session in Brussels 14 May

14 May 2024, 9h-16h CET | UNI Europa & EFSI Offices in Brussels

- Joint UNI & EFFAT Preparatory Meeting (morning, UNI Europa office)
- 1st PHS Social Dialogue Plenary Session (afternoon, EFSI office)

UNI Care Europa affiliates can register using the registration form below.



Protected: Commerce and Tourism EWC Network – 22 May 2024




Commerce and Tourism EWC network meeting