Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

Labour Code debate opens

July 27th, 2011

The draft bill just published by the Ministry for National Economy aims to reduce the rights of employees. Employers would, among other changes, find it easier to lay off pregnant women and parents on maternity leave. A prominent right-wing commentator argues that curbing the rights of employees will not strengthen the nation.

We fully agree with Viktor Orbán in believing that the state is the servant, not the ruler of the nation”, writes Matild Torkos in the pro-government daily, Magyar Nemzet, at the beginning of a critical analysis of the draft of the new Labour Code.

Commenting on the draft circulated by the Ministry of National Economy, Torkos notes that the proposed law “seems to forget about the ‘self-confident community’ of millions of wage earners.” She finds it worrying that the government plans to cut the number of paid vacation days for young employees, and to ease the rules which regulate the laying off of mothers and employees on sick leave. Torkos adds that the draft does not specify whether or not employees close to retirement age will be protected from dismissal, as Fidesz  promised earlier, after 90 percent of respondents welcomed such a policy in the ‘national consultation’ initiated by the government. (The prime minister’s spokesman has since stated that this will be added, and said that the draft has been opened for public debate before it is discussed by the government.)

“It seems as if the drafters of the proposed law have forgotten to whom they should be thankful for their two-thirds majority in parliament,” Torkos writes.

The right-wing commentator suggests that the government “is opening a common front against everyone, including its own convinced voters.” She adds that such a proposal should not only be discussed with economists, lawyers and the unions, but also with the wider public. Without proper consultation the government cannot hope that a consensus will emerge, and Hungarians may in the Autumn protest against the imposed restrictions, Torkos concludes.

In the left wing daily Népszava, the front page lead story on Tuesday relates alleged fissures inside the governing party, and offers examples of “moderates criticising the ruling trends.” In a commentary on an inside page, Zsolt Zsebesi mentions several examples of criticism addressed to the Minister of Economy György Matolcsy, and lists Magyar Nemzet’s critical article among them.

Tags: , , ,