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Labour shortage: bus drivers overloaded and exhausted

Labour shortage: bus drivers overloaded and exhausted

As we already reported, Hungarian economy is struggling hard with a labour shortage. The reason is simple: people go West for higher wages and better working conditions. The most affected sectors are public transport and service, tourism and IT. Thus, BKV (Budapest Transport Privately Held Corporation) drivers must work long hours. As a result, according to Népszava, there are more fender benders for which exhausted BKV-drivers are responsible. A solution for labor shortage could be wage union initiated by opposition party Jobbik, but the government does not support it.

Number of overtime working hours critical

To start with, one of the trade unions representing drivers of BKV regards a number of extra working hours critical. According to István Szabó, chairman of Inland Transport Workers’ Federation (BTDSZ), there are some drivers who worked 25 days and more than 210 hours in December instead of the regular 19 working days and 152 working hours. Additionally,

overtime work followed by exhaustion cause serious problems.

According to Szabó, insurance statistics already show a constant rise in damages.

Fina Aristic

‘The number of accidents in which buses were broken has increased. This might be a sign of the drivers’ tiredness. To make matters worse, this problem not only

affects traveling security,

but it might result in a rise of insurance costs paid by our trade union.’ – added Szabó.

BKV admitted labour shortage

According to BKV, there is no correspondence between more bumps and long working hours.

In fact, drivers have been responsible for 40% of the bus, 30% of the trolley and 12% of the tram accidents until November. Based on their data, rates were worse in 2016. Compared to the previous year, for example, the number of accidents caused by tram drivers has fallen. ‘There is no significant change from this point of view. Objective factors caused accidents alongside subjective, random reasons, as well’ – added BKV.

However,

BKV admitted in an answer to Népszava that drivers must work more overtime than the previous year.

‘According to the collective contract, there can only be a maximum of 200 hours overtime work. However, provided the employee agrees, BKV can increase the regular number of working hours by even 300. In fact, the average number of the drivers’ overtime working hours equals previous year’s’ – stated BKV. But they admitted that due to labour shortage drivers had to work overtime more than in 2016.

According to Szabó, many drivers complain about

BKV not allowing them to reject overtime work.

Moreover, there was an employee who was not let to a trial.

Meanwhile, BKV continues to search for the employee of the month among the drivers. Similarly, BTDSZ started to search for the employer of the month. Not surprisingly, one of their criteria is how much time he/she enabled for the drivers to spend with their families.

Wage union might be a solution?

A solution could be wage union for a labor shortage in Hungary which aims to raise Eastern-European wages to Western-European level. As a result, fewer would go abroad for higher salaries, so labor shortage would not hinder Hungarian economy. At least, this is the standpoint of many economists and biggest opposition party Jobbik who started the European citizen’s initiative in Hungary. However, due political reasons government does not support wage union.

Photo: Wikimedia commons

Source: Péter Zsidai – nepszava.hu, Daily News Hungary

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