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Opposition Parties Criticise Gov’t Actions, Call for Extended Economic Support Measures

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.05.09.

On Saturday, several opposition parties shared criticism of the government and its actions against the coronavirus epidemic in their online press conferences and shared their calls on helping the situation of workers and retirees. Green LMP calls for wage supplements to be expanded to the civil sector, while Párbeszéd is submitting a parliamentary resolution proposing that the home office should become a basic right for employees. Meanwhile, DK said that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán “has forgotten about pensioners” in the epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus, while the Socialists accused the government of using the novel coronavirus epidemic to “boost its own image”.

Socialists: Govt using epidemic for self-flattery

The opposition Socialists on Saturday accused the government of using the novel coronavirus epidemic to “boost its own image”. Addressing on online press conference on Facebook, Socialist lawmaker Lajos Korózs said he was not aware of another European country whose government had spent 6 billion forints (EUR 17.2m) on a billboard campaign during the epidemic.

These guys don’t know how to govern,” Korózs said. “But they know how to steal and push propaganda.

He repeated his party’s call for a 6.5 percent pension hike to be introduced retroactively from Jan. 1 as well as a one-time cash payment of 20,000 forints for those whose pensions are below 100,000 forints.

Korózs said the money the government was spending on its latest billboard campaign could be spent on increasing the lowest pensions.

He said pensions were significantly behind net average wages, noting that the average pensions was currently 52 percent of the net average wage, compared with 67 percent in 2015.

Meanwhile, Korózs said that as the head of parliament’s welfare committee, he will order an investigation into the validity of press reports that nearly 4,000 coronavirus test results had disappeared from the public health authority’s website.

DK: Orbán ‘has forgotten about pensioners’

The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán “has forgotten about pensioners” in the epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus and had instead

filled the pockets of his own oligarchs with billions [of forints] in public monies.

Party spokesman Balázs Barkóczi told an online press conference on Facebook on Saturday that the situation of pensioners had been constantly deteriorating each month, with official statistics showing that food prices increased by an annual 8.7 percent and services by 3 percent in April.

The government has refused to increase pensions, rejected a DK proposal to transfer a one-off payment, and “there is no hope for a pension bonus” in the current economic crisis, he said.

Barkóczi said that over the past ten years pensioners had been receiving nothing else but “empty promises and price hikes”.

LMP calls for wage supplements to be expanded to civil sector

The opposition LMP is calling on the government to expand wage supplements offered because of the novel coronavirus epidemic to the civil sector, co-leader Erzsébet Schmuck said on Saturday.

Schmuck told an online press conference on Facebook that the state should not expect civil sector workers to offer their services for free. She added that

Over the past thirty years, civil sector workers have shown that they can effectively and cheaply fulfil state tasks in social services, health care, education, sport, culture and environmental protection.

Civil sector workers are helping out in health-care and elderly care services even during the novel coronavirus epidemic, she said. Schmuck added that

 they, too, are in a difficult position and without external help many jobs can be expected to discontinue.

Schmuck said the government should recognise that “there is no democracy without the civil sector and they are fulfilling tasks from little money which the cabinet is incapable of.”

Párbeszed calls for home office to become employees’ basic right

The opposition Párbeszéd is submitting a parliamentary resolution proposing that home office should become a basic right for employees, party lawmaker Olivio Kocsis-Cake said on Saturday.

The recent period of restrictive measures made necessary by the novel coronavirus epidemic has shown that home office is practical and would be worth maintaining in the future, he said in an online press conference on Facebook.

Párbeszéd proposes that every employee should have the right to work from home during the state of emergency if they can fulfil their tasks, he said.

Additionally, after the epidemic is over, employees should have the right to request 52 days home office annually, similarly to paid holiday, he said.

The proposal would result in a decrease in travel time and stress, and reduce the burden on the environment, he added.

featured photo: illustration, opposition MPs in the Parliament in 2019 (Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI)