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Romania

Military Labor

The government traditionally relied on the military as a reserve labor force for gathering harvests and building railroads. In the 1980s, however, the armed forces became increasingly involved in other areas of the civilian economy. The use of military units in the civilian sector was practically a necessity in view of Romania's severe economic difficulties. To alleviate the chronic labor shortage and to overcome occasional labor unrest and other disruptions, the regime used the military as a corps of engineers on 170 important public construction projects. During the mid-1980s, military commanders and troops were deployed in power plants and energy-related industries to maintain order and to ensure the regime's control over the critical energy sector (see Energy , ch. 3).

In 1988 Ceausescu stated that 50 percent of active duty military personnel worked on civilian projects at some point during their service. Troops worked on the Bucharest-Danube Canal, the Agigea Lock on the Danube-Black Sea Canal, the bridge over the Danube between Fetesti and Cernavoda, the Constanta-Mangalia railroad, the Iron Gates II hydroelectric plant, the Bucharest subway, the Palace of the Republic, and the Ministry of National Defense building. Troops worked almost continuously on irrigation, land reclamation, and reforestation projects.

Data as of July 1989