Budapest, May 1 (MTI) – Hungary’s trade unions called for joint efforts to reduce the vulnerability of workers while opposition parties demanded higher wages for workers on Labour Day on Sunday.
The heads of Hungary’s five trade union confederations said in the City Park that the Labour Code should be revised, a fairer tax system introduced and the minimum wage raised to subsistence level. Representatives of the TU confederations MASZSZ, Liga, ESZT, SZEF and MOSZ placed flowers at a memorial stone erected on the spot where Hungary’s first free Labour Day was celebrated.
The opposition Socialists said the past two years have made it clear that there is a great need for genuine left-wing parties. Party leader József Tóbias said in the City Park that the elections in 2018 could be won if local communities are mobilised. The left wing must not turn a blind eye on the millions living in poverty and in “existential crisis”. Budapest party leader Ágnes Kunhalmi said the government parties will have to give account of their actions in 2018. “I am convinced that they should not only be replaced but also called to account and put behind prison bars,” she said.
Ferenc Gyurcsány, leader of the opposition DK party, said in the City Park that a new democratic government would have to create a Labour Code that strengthens the representation of workers, gives them back the right to go on strike and recognises weekend work with increased bonuses.
The green opposition LMP party demanded a considerably higher wage increase than planned in the public sector. Deputy group leader Erzsébet Schmuck said in the City Park that the government is planning to spend 600 billion forints unnecessarily next year and a much lower amount is allocated for wage increases. LMP will propose amendments to the 2017 budget to ensure that the pay for full-time work should not be less than the subsistence level.
The opposition Együtt party called for a general wage increase and the introduction of a progressive tax system. Party leader Viktor Szigetvári told an event near Parliament that this is a condition for sustainable development and a stronger middle class. He added that the 12th anniversary of Hungary’s EU accession should also be celebrated on this day.
The opposition PM party said that the life of Hungarians is characterised by financial uncertainty and increased vulnerability. Party spokesman Bence Tordai told a Labour Day event that his party demands the introduction of a basic income for low earners. Workers should also be eligible, so the net minimum wage would rise from 74,000 forints a month to 105,000.