BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Thousands of workers rallied in front of the offices of Romania's leftist government on Tuesday to demand better living standards and wages, just weeks before a presidential election.
About 3,000 people, including clerks, teachers, rail workers and nurses, gathered in downtown Bucharest despite torrential rain, chanting and blowing whistles and vuvuzela horns.
"Thieves, thieves, we want decent jobs!" the crowds shouted, calling on the government to resign.
Data published on Tuesday showed the net average monthly wage fell 2.1 percent to 1,683 lei ($481) in August, with health and education sectors earning around 1,460 lei. Romania is the European Union's second poorest member after Bulgaria.
Prime Minister Victor Ponta, whose Social Democrats have a comfortable parliamentary majority, is tipped to win the presidential race, giving him a pivotal role in appointing a new premier and cabinet to oversee an IMF-led aid deal and reforms.
Opinion polls showed Ponta getting about 42 percent of votes in the first round on Nov. 2, followed by provincial mayor Klaus Iohannis, an ethnic German, with 27 percent. Ponta is seen winning a Nov. 16 runoff ballot with 57 percent.
(Reporting by Radu Marinas; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)