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Ten years without a raise, public employees to hold five-day strike

Protest for higher wages in the social sector on May 29, 2015 | Photo: mkksz.org.hu

The Union for Hungarian Civil Servants, Public Servants, and Public Servant Providers (MKKSZ) will hold a five-day strike from Thursday, reports 24.hu.

On Monday, MKKSZ chairman Mrs. Péter Boros announced that MKKSZ would go on strike for the fifth time to protest for the more than 18,000 municipal officials whose income had not risen in the past 10 years. Mrs. Boros also noted that despite multiple calls for negotiations, the government refused to meet with the union.

She said that those who wish to express their solidarity with the municipal employees should wear blue or a blue smiley face pin during the strike. Mrs. Boros explained that the union awaits those who as citizens and government employees would like to express their dissatisfaction with the government as an employer. The aim of the strike is not “refuting the sectoral average earnings data for employed persons of the government propaganda” but to show whether state employees feel they are appreciated.

Mrs. Boros noted that while 40 percent of municipal employees saw an increase in their salaries, these raises were covered from the councils’ local tax revenue. Most municipal employees work in small settlements, where tax income is low, therefore councils cannot afford to increase the salaries of their employees. She added that even local pay raises could not make up for the 30 percent decrease in real earnings.

The MKKSZ chairman said the Ministry of Interior acknowledged the legitimacy of the union’s demands and even took the matter to two government meetings, but no further steps were taken. She said the union’s demands could be fulfilled from HUF 42.5 billion (USD 167 million).

The union’s strike will be joined by the Hungarian Women’s Association. Chairman Andrea Alföldi said the union’s demand is not merely a sectoral question but a “women question”. Stressing the high rate of female employees in the public sector, Alföldi claimed that the lack of professional appreciation of public servants is tantamount to a lack of appreciation for women.

Balázs Pivarnyik :