The last time that there were such big construction projects in Hungary was perhaps in the Rákosi era. In the late 50s, the predecessor of the current MOL Petrolkémia Zrt at Tiszaújváros, was built by mostly migrant workers from different parts of the country, including the writer and philosopher Béla Hamvas, who worked in the warehouse. According to Jobbik, thousands of non-EU migrants will be working at the site, most probably from Turkey. In response to atlatszo.hu’s enquiry, MOL stated that they will hire 3000 new workers, of who some will come from “EU and non-EU” states.
In response to atlatszo.hu’s request of information, MOL’s press office responded with the following:
“In our 2030 strategy, we have committed to invest $4.5 billion into the petrochemical industry, a significant proportion of this will occur in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén county. Our objective is to create the largest chemical plant in in Central and Eastern Europe. One of the milestones of this strategy is the Poliol Project, which is set to be completed in 2021 and will cost around $1.2 billion. This is the MOL Group’s largest venture financed solely by the company and its size will have a substantial impact on the local area.”
The grandiose construction project has captured the imagination of politicians as well. Péter Jakab, the deputy leader of Jobbik, asked the Secretary of State Sándor Bodó whether the news that 3000 Turkish guest workers will be arriving in Tiszaújváros is true. In his response Bodó stated that workers will only come from non-EU countries if they are unable to meet requirements domestically and from the EU.
2000 guest workers will move into the mobile residential area that is currently being built. Along with its investment, the MOL Group is working alongside the authorities of Tiszaújváros to increase security measures in the area, which will include security cameras on major roads leading to the town. The first living quarters will be installed this month, and the first wave of guest workers could be arriving as soon as this summer. The number of contractors at the site is set to be greatest in 2020, when 2500 workers are predicted to be living in the area.
While 2500 contractors do not sound a lot, they will form a significant proportion of the Tiszaújváros community, which currently has a population of around 15,000.
However, the press release of MOL is already discussing the possibility of employing 3000 workers:
“Indeed, the company will employ around 3000 workers during the height of the project. We have also been communicating that we are responsible for providing them with temporary accommodation that has all the necessities to make our employees feel comfortable. What we are doing now is by no means a secret and is normal for a venture of this magnitude. We need to realise that the availability of Hungarian contractors is rather limited, meaning we have to turn to migrants from other EU countries and non-EU states.”
For the time being, the only thing known is that the majority of guest workers will be from non-EU states. The Chief Executive told tiszaujvaros.hu “Contractors will have all the services they need on site, including meals and medical care. We will organise a special bus service for our employees”.
Deputy Mayor Dr. György Fülöp told Tisza TV: “The most important thing for us is to preserve public safety and the public’s sense of security. Beside our security camera system, we are also planning to strengthen the local police force. We are constantly discussing these issues with the MOL board.”
According to the Deputy Mayor, the guest workers will leave the site after the completion of the polyol plant. The mobile residences are planned to be demolished and transported elsewhere by mid-2021, after which the area will be restored to its previous state.
The move raises questions on whether local people are being excluded from this project. According to napi.hu, Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén has the second highest unemployment rate in the country at 7.36%. Hopefully these people will benefit from the MOL’s Group grandiose investment.
Nonetheless, this situation is interesting in the context of Hungary’s anti-migration policy. In early March we reported the Hungarian government opposing Brussels’ plan to let in millions of migrants into the the EU. However, a few days later we also revealed Hungary’s decision to let in 350 migrants from Venezuela.
Source: atlatszo.hu, tiszaujvaros.hu, napi.hu