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Unions in Hungary protest against “slavery law”


11 December, 201810,000 workers demonstrated in Hungary’s capital Budapest on 8 December, to protest against proposed changes to the labour law, by some critics dubbed a “slavery law”.

Workers and unions took to the streets of Budapest on 8 December to voice their opposition and to protest against the government’s attempt to increase working hours at workers’ expense by favouring companies’ interests.

The government of Hungary wants to introduce an anti-employee amendment of the Hungarian Labour Code, which would allow employers to raise workers’ allowable overtime from 250 to 400 hours a year and watering down of other labour regulations. If passed, the government-proposed change could mean an extra working day a week and the reference period for calculating working time would be extended from 12 to 36 months.

The right-wing Hungary’s government arguing that there is a growing labour shortage in the country, and that is why workers need to work more. According to Hungarian unions, the country still has the lowest wages in Europe.

Said IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches:

IndustriALL calls on Hungary’s government to act in strict accordance with national and international core labour standards. Improving competitiveness should not be based on deteriorating workers’ position and cutting their rights.

At its Executive Committee meeting on 29-30 November 2018, IndustriALL discussed the anti-employee amendment of the Hungarian Labour Code and unanimously adopted a resolution, standing in solidarity with the Hungarian workers and their unions.

The Hungarian parliament will discuss the proposal on 12 December.