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Five trade union confederations published a statement on Wednesday, protesting against the government’s plan to reopen primary schools and kindergartens on April 19, saying the measure was “unnecessary and dangerous for children”.

The statement was signed by leaders of the Confederation of Trade Unions (SZEF), the Trade Union Association of Intellectuals (ÉSZT), the LIGA of trade unions, the National Association of Workers’ Councils and the Hungarian Association of Trade Unions (MASZSZ).

The unions welcomed the government decision to push back the opening of secondary schools to May 10. They said, at the same time, that reopening kindergartens and primary schools was “unnecessary according to experts and everyday experience”.

They noted that a recent survey by the Teachers’ Union has shown that 81 percent of teachers did not feel their students would be safe at school, while 87 percent said they thought “it was very early” to reopen.

Citing the human resources ministry, the statement said that only 6-8 percent of kindergarten children and 1 percent of primary school pupils were currently in need of supervision at the facility.

Meanwhile, “employees and parents are not separate entities,” the statement said, and called for the coordination of pandemic protection measures in various sectors of society. Workers continue to face risks posed by the pandemic as well as striving to ensure a safe and thorough education for their children while retaining their jobs, the statement said.

The confederations therefore continue to argue that the state should take over the job costs of parents homebound with small children due to pandemic measures, the statement said.

featured image illustration via János Mészáros/MTI