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Trade union demonstration lacks critical mass

November 25th, 2014

Commenting on a Friday rally held by teachers’ trade unions opposed to the government, the leading left-wing daily cautions against organizing demonstrations if no large scale participation is ensured. A moderate analyst suggeststs that the Left has alienated the trade unions, their natural allies, by embracing neoliberal doctrines.

The Democratic Confederation of Trade Unions (LIGA) has failed to mobilize enough anti-government demonstrators, Népszabadság comments on the protest rally held by 30 associated trade unions. The left-wing daily reads the mere one thousand protesters mobilized by LIGA as a warning to any anti-government groups. If such events are attended by so few people, the whole movement and its cause will appear ridiculous, Népszabadság warns. The Orbán government can be pressurised only if masses take to the streets, the left-wing daily contends.

Economist Zoltán Pogátsa points out that the Left has missed the opportunity to strengthen its base through engaging the trade unions. Writing on his increasingly popular blog, he believes that trade unions should be the natural allies of the left-wing parties. But when the Left embraced neoliberal pro-market doctrines in the 1990s, it dismantled the trade unions. Pogátsa thus does not find it surprising at all that “according to trade union leaders, most of their activists are Jobbik voters”.

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