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Unions cooling on idea of national strike?

January 11th, 2019

According to the leading pro-government daily, trade unions could not reach agreement on a general strike proposed last week at the opposition demonstrations against the Overtime Bill. A liberal commentator points out that both the labour code and public sentiments make it difficult to call a general strike in Hungary.

Magyar Idők reports that unions did not reach agreement with the opposition parties at meetings this week, and suggests that their plan to organize a general strike against the Overtime Bill (see BudaPost January 8) has been halted. According to Magyar Idők’s unnamed union sources, left-wing parties are now trying to cooperate with NGOs financed by George Soros and ‘pro-migration’ labour unions in the EU.

On Index, Fruzsina Előd writes that neither the legal context, nor public sentiments are in favour of general strikes. The liberal commentator points out that the restrictive labor law makes it very difficult to call a general strike in the first place. Előd adds that the Hungarian public is less than supportive towards the trade unions, which under Socialism were the tentacles of the establishment rather than genuine representatives of employees. Quoting opinion surveys, Előd writes that nearly half those Hungarians who responded do not endorse strikes at all as an effective means of standing up for the claims of employees. To make things even more difficult for unions, one third of employees would not participate in a general strike, and only 54 per cent consider strikes a legitimate tool.

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