As the Hungarian government has revoked virtually all coronavirus-related restrictions and obligations, a teachers' trade union is demanding that the Orbán administration revoke those that restrict their right to strike as well.Continue reading
Hungary’s government agrees with the demands of teachers, but 87 percent of teachers agree that now is not the time for them to go on strike, the prime minister’s chief of staff has said. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Human Resources (EMMI) called the strike “a campaign action by the teachers’ unions against the government”
Speaking to public media about an indefinite strike launched by teachers on Wednesday, Gergely Gulyás said that a strike was not the most suitable form of protest when there is a war going on in Hungary’s neighbouring country and schools also have to take care of refugee children. He noted that schools had already endured a difficult last two years because of the pandemic.
The Fidesz politician thanked teachers for the fact that less than 15,000 of those working in public schools had participated in the work stoppage.
Gulyás said this number was significantly less than the number of teachers who had taken part in a strike in January which was later declared unlawful. (While in a first instance ruling the teachers’ warning strike was ruled lawful, the Municipal Appeals Court of Budapest ruled otherwise. The strike was ruled as unlawful, not because of the unions’ demands, but because the strike was held in lack of a relevant ruling.)
Counting kindergarten and vocational school teachers, it can be said that overall less than 10 percent of teachers took part in the strike, Gulyás said.
He said teachers had legitimate demands, adding that meeting them would be among the most important tasks of the next government term.
Brussels is currently discussing the next seven-year budget, Gulyás said, adding that the promised 30 percent wage increase was likely to be implemented. Hungary has asked Brussels for hundreds of billions of forints to help fund the pay hikes, he said.
Gulyás said he hoped an agreement on the funding would soon be reached so that teachers could see their wages rise over the next government term.
Featured photo by Attila Kovács/MTI