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Dispute over overtime

December 3rd, 2018

Commenting on a bill to extend overtime limits, a left-wing columnist accuses the government of selling Hungarian workers out to multinational business interests.

A fresh draft amendment to the Labour Code would authorise employers to ask their employees to perform 400 hours of overtime a year (up from the current 250). The draft has been criticised by both trade unions and the opposition parties. The government has announced that it will revise the bill and make overtime conditional on a collective deal between employers and employees to prevent workers being forced to work more overtime against their will.

In Népszava, Tamás Beck accuses the government of serving the interests of employers and ignoring workers’ needs. The left-wing commentator dubs the government’s bill a “slave law” that makes employees more vulnerable and defenceless. Beck goes so far as to speculate that the amendments to the Labour Code are just another element of what he calls the government’s secret plot to turn Hungary into a “giant assembly line” inhabited by uneducated day laborers who cannot stand up to their bosses. Beck thinks that despite its frequent populist slogans, the government, is selling the manpower of Hungarians to Western factories that need cheap labour.

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