Romanian health workers protest against tax plan

Some 7,000 Romanian public sector health workers demonstrated Thursday, demanding that the government eliminate a plan to make them pay more social security taxes.

Protesters from all over Romania gathered in a central square in the capital city of Bucharest, blowing whistles and vuvuzelas, marching to the government's main offices.

Trade union leaders later held talks with Prime Minister Mihai Tudose about their grievances. Under the new plan, social welfare taxes currently paid by employers would be paid in the future by employees.

"Our wages will be cut," said Erzsebet Dobro, a nurse from the central city of Sfantu Gheorghu. "It won't be worth working in the health sector anymore."

"We have among the lowest wages," said Bucharest nurse Dorina Mantu, 51, who earns 1,700 lei ($440) a month. "Why should I pay more taxes to the state?"

Dumitru Constantin, head of the National Trade Union Bloc, told broadcaster Europa FM that the government was planning to raise taxes next year to cover salary hikes for public sector workers in 2018.