András Schiffer signed for the wage union at the Árpád Bridge underground station in Budapest. Currently working as an attorney at law, the former MP of Politics Can Be Different (Lehet Más a Politika – LMP) party talked to Alfahír news portal at Jobbik’s stand set up in Budapest’s District 13.
Why did you feel you must back the wage union initiative?
Besides agreeing with the concept, I think it’s vital that the EU’s decision makers finally do something about the increasing wage inequalities, in other words, the huge gap between Eastern and Western Europe. However, no result can be achieved unless we act at both the EU and the Hungarian level at the same time. On the other hand, we must also make it clear that as long as a member state, for example Hungary, has a government whose top objective is to compete in the labour market with low wages, we can only accomplish limited success in terms of raising wages.
But the same applies the other way round, too: the reason why the countries in the EU’s periphery have governments who want to use low wages as a competitive edge is because the European Union was created based on this logic. It is time to start thinking about a different Europe and that’s what this initiative is about. Built upon the principle of the four freedoms, the EU applies a hypocritical logic of free trade: the free movement of workers without giving equal pay for equal work is nothing but a tool for a new colonization.
The EU must be reformed, that much is clear. But why isn’t the idea supported by the leftist parties and the government?
The demand of “equal pay for equal work” is a traditional Social Democratic principle. As to why Jobbik was the one to come up with the idea, neither Jobbik nor the signers need to account for that. On the other hand, the forces who call themselves the left but are often under Neoliberal guardianship do have some explaining to do, indeed.
The response to the initiative reveals it all: the fact that the “royal” [pro-government] media asks Liberal Prime Minister candidate Tamás Lattmann to slag off the wage union is a clear sign that Hungary, despite all the disguise, has a government with a Neoliberal economic policy while a significant part of the opposition is actually right-wing in spite of calling themselves left-liberal.
Source: Press release – jobbik.com