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Foreign Minister Szijjártó’s Remarks on Trade Unions Stir Controversy

Hungary Today 2020.08.27.

The foreign minister’s remarks made at the meeting of Hungarian ambassadors, seem to be unlawful, a trade union leader claims. Péter Szijjártó said that “trade unionist games” and home office are not tolerated in his Ministry, not even during the coronavirus lockdown, and threatened those wanting to do so with termination.

In his speech which focused on the pandemic, his personal expectations, and Hungarian diplomacy’s challenges, Szijjártó at one point said: “then there was another very important magical word: home office and the demand for it. I did not allow this, and I will not allow it in the future. I asked the deputy state secretaries and the heads of departments to put together a list of those staff members whose work was not needed in that situation. And in parentheses, I added that they can thank them for that definitively. Interestingly, not a single name made it to these lists, so we didn’t send anyone to ‘home office’.”

He also warned those wanting to organize themselves as workers within the Ministry: “we haven’t played this trade unionist game in the Ministry so far, and it would remain as such. And if someone wants to do so, he or she will also get the opportunity to play this game, [but] outside the ministry. Of course, we will not allow this in the future either.” In summary of this part of his speech, he claimed:

“…it is a responsibility to work in foreign policy, and to work in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary is a special responsibility, meaning tasks [are to be performed] not only in good times, but in bad times too. For those who are unwilling to accept this, the doors are open, of course, in the outward direction too.”

According to the leader of the Trade Union of Hungarian Civil Servants and Public Employees (MKKSZ), however, these sentences go against the law. Erzsébet Boros argued that she thinks:

“Hungary is a democracy and the Fundamental Law defines the right to organize. That is why a number one ministry leader’s words are essentially “unlawful.”

His job, on the other hand, would be to obey the law and ensure rights,” Boros explained, adding that she would be sad if this was the common practice, and they reject it.

Moreover, Szijjártó is still under criticism for his Croatian family boat trip on pro-government businessman László Szíjj’s luxury yacht.

Foreign Minister Says Vacation on Billionaire's Luxury Yacht 'Private Matter,' Opposition Demands His Resignation
Foreign Minister Says Vacation on Billionaire's Luxury Yacht 'Private Matter,' Opposition Demands His Resignation

A week ago, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó was caught vacationing with his family on the Adriatic Sea on a luxury private yacht belonging to a pro-government billionaire businessman, while he posted photos on his Facebook page depicting him to be working. For the first time since the photos of his holiday […]Continue reading

Independent of Szijjártó’s remarks, local governments’ public employees’ strike timed for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th of September is on. The organizers (MKKSZ) argue that:

“…the government’s decisions in recent months have made the local governments’ management impossible, thus endangering the job and safe livelihoods of thousands of local government workers.”

They claim there is a labor shortage in the public sector, and the workload is high due to low wages. In addition, municipal workers protected the population by putting their health in danger during the coronavirus epidemic; the state, however, has yet to reimburse the cost of control.”

featured image via Facebook