Budapest, February 11 (MTI) – Representatives of teachers should discuss problems dogging public education with the government and help to resolve them, the government office chief said on Thursday, criticising the PSZ trade union for signalling it will boycott the talks.
“This is unprecedented in the past 25 years …” János Lázár told a weekly government press briefing. “They have every right to protest but strikes and protests will not solve the problems.” He asked PSZ to give talks a chance. The government does not question the motives of teachers. In turn, teachers should accept that Hungary’s elected representatives want the situation to improve, Lázár said.
Lázár indicated that teachers were making demands that amounted to a 15-20 percent wage increase. An ongoing scheme already boosts wages, and teachers should accept that Hungary cannot afford to raise their wages by 20 percent each year, he added. At the same time, the government is receptive concerning several professional issues raised by the teachers and the trade union, he added.
The minister said it was clear that it was in the interest of certain people that the teacher’s actions should be politicised. He said such people had organised anti-government demonstrations in the past and financiers had given money to anti-government forces many for years.
PSZ said in response that it would be ready for negotiations but only if it is treated as an equal partner. The trade union has not rejected the government’s offer for talks but “it will not sit down to a party table” where the guests have been selected by the government “wantonly, without consultations” and where the “menu” has been assembled by them. PSZ said it rejects Lázár’s attempt to pressurise them because this only makes cooperation between the negotiating partners more difficult.