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EU minimum wage: it cannot be achieved in Hungary without social dialogue

The most important goal is to develop an adequate level of meaningful social dialogue in Hungary in the future, the president of the Hungarian Trade Union Confederation told InfoRadio. According to Róbert Zlati, trade unions are not in a good position in Hungary today, because the level of social dialogue in Hungary is below European standards, which is necessary for the proper transposition of the EU minimum wage directive.

"An adequate level of meaningful social dialogue can be one of the most important foundations for a proper transposition of the EU minimum wage directive. There is one element of social dialogue that is fundamentally lacking in Hungary, and that is dialogue at sectoral level. Hungary has a very low coverage of collective agreements, less than 20 percent of workers are covered by collective agreements, while the EU directive also aims to increase this coverage to 80 percent, or reach 80 percent in all member states", Róbert Zlati explained in InfóRádió.



He said this would not only require strengthening trade unions, which would also require legislative changes, but also greater support from employees. \"But it would be equally important to create interest on the part of employers. And, of course, a change in legislation, and thus in the attitude of the government, to make this happen.\" One element of this would be the unrestricted right to strike, Róbert Zlati said.



\"We consider the institution of the right to strike as a fundamental right. It is fundamentally limited in many sectors today. (What is the strike at the Autoliv factory pointing to?) Sometimes it is blocked by daily legislation. This should be changed, it would also be good to restore the operating subsidies for trade unions to the level that was previously possible in the Labour Code.These should be restored, for example the working time allowance or the educational working time allowance.



As reported by HR Portal, the Parliament adopted on Tuesday legislation transposing the European Parliament and Council directive on minimum wages in the EU. The deadline for transposing the 2022 directive on adequate minimum wages into national law is 15 November 2024



The European minimum wage is a recommendation that sets out a pathway towards a minimum wage. The setting of the amount of the minimum wage remains a sovereign right of the Member States, each Member State setting it according to its economic means. The adopted recommendation puts the emphasis on social dialogue, strengthening trade unions, increasing the number of collective agreements and, at the same time, involving interest representatives in workers' decisions, i.e. on negotiation between the parties rather than centralised regulation. In countries where culture, advocacy and legal certainty truly make employers and employers partners, there is really no justification for it - read our previous article.



Bence Tordai: 1% for trade unions too!



In a Facebook post, the leader of the parliamentary group of Párbeszéd-ZÖLDEK drew attention to the fact that on Labour Day it is worth reflecting on the state of labour representation in Hungary: \"people of working age spend a significant part of their time at work - in fact: The government claims that we live in a work-based society; in contrast, the government systematically marginalises the representation of workers' interests, bleeds the trade unions that are supposed to do this, and distributes the minimum state resources by hand-feeding them, while constantly tightening the legislation that applies to them. And without strong and financially independent trade unions, there is much less chance of decent work: decent wages, decent working conditions, safe jobs.\"



As a result, Bence Tordai has once again submitted to Parliament on 1 May a bill to amend Act CXXVI of 1996 on the donation of one percent of personal income tax to trade unions. The aim is to allow the donation of 1% of income tax to trade unions, as is the case with NGOs and churches, so that taxpayers can have 3 x 1% instead of 2 x 1%.



photo by freepik


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