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Government And Trade Unions Hold Wage Talks

Tamás Székely 2014.12.18.

The government and trade unions’ positions on next year’s wages came closer at yesterday’s talks, but the sides stopped short of signing a final accord. Ferenc Dávid, the general secretary of employer association VOSZ, said after talks in the framework of the government’s permanent consulation forum VKF that employers generally would agree to a 3.5% wage rise for next year. This would correspond to a minimum wage of 105,000 forints (EUR 340) a month or 122,000 forints for graduates and skilled workers.

The government also appeared ready to discuss unions’ demands in connection with the labour code, early retirement rules and new strike laws, Dávid said. Head of the trade union association MaSZSZ, Péter Pataky, said an agreement had been drafted with proposals both from the unionist and government sides, but which had not yet been signed. If an agreement is not signed by Friday, the government is expected to unilaterally announce minimum wage decisions then, and no proposed average wage would be set in such a scenario, he added.

Unions held a full-day demonstration including partially blocking main roads in cities nationwide at the start of the week, in protest of the government’s labour-related measures. LIGA trade union chief István Gaskó said he hoped the strike would serve as a wake-up call to the government and demonstrate that there is broad support for the unions’ demands. He said the package of demands include “a sufficiently large wage settlement next year, a review of the labour code, an amendment to the strike law to include constitutional safeguards for strikers, retention of the early retirement scheme as well as no changes to the tax regime on fringe benefits.”

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