An 8 percent wage hike for health-care professionals originally scheduled for November this year will be retroactively implemented from January, Zoltán Balog, the minister of human resources said after the latest round of strike talks between the government and the unions.
The hike is the last stage of a wage plan agreed in 2016, Balog told a press conference.
Wages will have risen by an average 53 percent since 2016 with this last hike, Balog said. Ambulance workers will receive the current 8 percent raise on top of the 10 percent specifically allotted to that sector, he said.
The raise will affect 80,000 employees altogether, he said.
Ágnes Cser, head of the Democratic Union of Hungarian Social and Health Care Workers (MSZ EDDSZ), welcomed the decision as an “enormous achievement”. The union’s goal is to bring Hungarian wages in the sector to 75 percent of average wages in the EU, she said, “so we still have a long way ahead of us”.
The issue is crucial. As we have reported in several articles, more and more doctors leave Hungary to work in Western-European countries for much higher wages. In fact, most of them go to Great-Britain, Germany and Switzerland. As a result, there is a considerable shortage in many sectors of Hungarian health care.
However, the government is hopeful, as they find that there are more doctors staying in Hungary and more fresh graduates coming on stream compared with the past, when many in the medical profession emigrated to work abroad.