SLAVE LAW – Hungary 2018

Statement of the Hungarian Trade Union Confederation

On December 20 the President of Hungary signed the amendment to the Labour Code. The Slave Law will go in effect by January 1. 2019.

This happens without prior consultations with social partners at the tripartite structures, and against the massive opposition of trade unions and by now of wide coalition of civil organisations, opposition parties, as manifested by demonstrations, road blockades around the country. It is direct infringement against the working time Directive 2003/88/EC /Art. 19/ Chapter 4.

The increase of annual overtime to 400 hours (from 250) and the increase of the reference period to 36 months (from 12) could lead in practice to excessive vulnerability of employees and further shift the balance to the benefit of employers – there are already reports about employers to introduce the new measures.

Over the past weeks MASZSZ, together with all other confederations has opposed the now adopted changes, presenting expert arguments, appealing to political decision makers and to the public. Following the adoption by the Parliament government parties, in less than 48 hours over 11.000 signatures were put on the online petitions calling the President to refer it back.

On the initiative of the Hungarian Trade Union Confederation (MASZSZ) a Strike and Demonstration Preparatory Committee was established with the involvement of the Trade Union Cooperation Forum (SZEF) and the Alliance of Professionals (ÉSZT) and a dozen trade unions, civil organisations. They will work together by coordinating information activities at workplaces, the various protest actions and begin to prepare major strike action. Unions demand the withdrawal of the laws on governmental administration, on law enforcement employees, on the civil employees of the Army and State Audit Office. The demands aim at proper social dialogue, the revision of the Labour Code, the Strike Law.

On December 21. several demonstrations will be held in Budapest and other cities. Major actions are under planning for January – strikes in public administration, at workplaces where the new regulations will be applied, around industry parks, culminating in nationwide action.

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