25 June 2007
In mid 2006, the government announced its plans to introduce austere reform measures, involving significant cuts in the budget, services and staff of public institutions. The announcement met with strong resistance from the more radical trade unions, which issued a call for strike action, as well as staging rallies in an effort to put pressure on the government; these protests led to considerable street violence (*HU0607039I* , *HU0611029I* , *HU0609029I* , *HU0610039I* ).  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/trade-unions-clash-with-new-government-over-tough-economic-programme  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/trade-union-protests-against-government-austerity-measures  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/trade-unions-reject-stringent-eu-convergence-programme  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/protest-and-political-crisis-mark-launch-of-governments-convergence-programme
27 May 2007
A central element of the Hungarian industrial relations system is the annual negotiation at the National Interest Reconciliation Council (Országos Érdekegyeztető Tanács, OÉT) on minimum wages and wage recommendations for the following year, which also provides a recommendation for wage increases to lower-level bargaining parties. The atmosphere of the wage negotiations for 2007 was influenced by the austerity measures introduced by the government in the course of the summer of 2006, and their expected implications for 2007 (*HU0607059I* ).  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/impact-of-government-reform-and-tax-measures
26 April 2007
In January 2007, the Hungarian Chamber of Physicians (Magyar Orvosi Kamara, MOK ) had 44,000 registered members. Two thirds of MOK’s members work as public sector employees, while one third of the membership consists of self-employed workers, mainly family doctors and dentists. In Hungary, professional chambers with compulsory membership, like MOK, are public bodies and are thus not eligible to call a strike. This was one of the reasons why MOK has in the past cooperated closely with the Democratic Trade Union of Health and Social Workers (Egészségügyi és Szociális Ágazatban Dolgozók Demokratikus Szakszervezete, EDDSZ ), the largest interest representation organisation in the sector. For instance, in 2003, MOK staged a joint demonstration with EDDSZ, in support of the union’s call for strike action in protest against the privatisation of hospitals (*HU0306102N* ).  http://www.mok.hu/  http://www.eddsz.hu/  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/healthcare-employees-protest-against-privatisation-of-hospitals
01 April 2007
In mid 2006, the incoming socialist-liberal government embarked on a reform of the state administration. Aimed at ensuring greater efficiency, the measures envisaged reducing the number of ministries from 17 down to 12 departments. In addition, the measures involved the closure of several hundred government agencies and institutions (*HU0607059I* ). The reform programme also affected the ministries in charge of social affairs, equal opportunities and employment policy, which were merged into a single ministry, namely the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour (Szociális és Munkaügyi Minisztérium, SZMM ), directly after the government came into power. As a result of the mergers at ministerial level, the Minister for Social Affairs and Labour, Péter Kiss, issued a decree in October 2006, which regrouped and streamlined different service units affiliated to the former ministries.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/impact-of-government-reform-and-tax-measures  http://www.szmm.gov.hu/
01 April 2007
A preferential electricity price for employees and pensioners in the sector has been in place for about 100 years in Hungary and the agreement has existed in its current form since 1 April 1997. Currently, some 20,000 active employers and 45,000 pensioners pay just 37% of the standard consumer price, up to a maximum usage of 20,000 kilowatts a year. However, following the liberalisation of the industry on 1 July 2007, energy distribution companies would have to cover the additional expenses incurred by the special discount, which makes it unlikely that this tax free allowance can be maintained - especially in the case of pensioners - in a new situation of price competition.
11 March 2007
In the autumn of 2006, the Hungarian government re-submitted to the parliament draft laws on the National Interest Reconciliation Council (Országos Érdekegyezteto Tanács, OÉT) and on the sectoral social dialogue committees (Ágazati Párbeszéd Bizottságok, ÁPB). Re-submission was necessary because the new government, formed in June 2006, withdrew all draft laws which had been submitted to the previous parliament but not debated. This enabled the new government to review the two bills and to consult with the social partners.
07 March 2007
On 20 May 2006, the Hungarian Association of Bakers (Magyar Pékszövetség, MPSZ ), the industry’s leading employer organisation, terminated the sectoral collective agreement, one of the country’s earliest sectoral framework agreements and one of four sectoral agreements extended to include all employers in the sector by the Minister of Labour in 1998 (*HU0608019I* ). Reactions from commentators and trade unions stressed the importance of maintaining standards across the industry. They highlighted such issues as widespread use of undeclared work in small bakeries – especially in rural areas – and common violations of existing regulations in support of introducing an extension to the collective agreement.  http://www.pekszovetseg.hu/  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/employers-seek-renegotiation-of-two-sectoral-collective-agreements
04 March 2007
The labour rules (establishment and termination of a work contract, industrial relations, rules on work etc.) are laid down in Act XXII of 1992 on the Labour Code. As a general rule the Labour Code defines 16 years of age as the lowest age limit for entering an employment relationship, thus it links the possibility of concluding an employment contract to the age and not to the completion of compulsory education. A derogation of the general rule is provided for the temporary employment of full time pupils above the age of 15 during school holidays and upon the approval of their legal guardians. The Labour Code defines as young workers those under the age of 18.
25 February 2007
A central issue for discussion during the transitional process to EU enlargement  was the free movement of workers  from the new and less affluent eastern European Member States to the older and more prosperous EU Member States. Although one of the four basic liberties of the EU is the free movement of its citizens, in reality this provision has raised political fears of immigration, arising from the potential economic and labour market impact of free movement of workers.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/industrial-relations-dictionary/enlargement  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/industrial-relations-dictionary/free-movement-of-workers
18 December 2006
The government has initiated two programmes which support public sector employees facing dismissal: the revised ‘Premium Years Programme’ (*HU0507102F* ) and the ‘special employment status’. Both schemes may be accessed on the basis of an individual agreement between the employer and employee, which may be concluded between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2007. Employees participating in these programmes receive 70% of their former salaries, covered by a central budget together with taxes and social insurance contributions on their wages.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/pre-pension-programme-extended-to-private-sector