- 10 Nov 2009
Hungary: Dispute over tackling recession at ISD Dunaferr steelworks
The steelworks company ISD Dunaferr, once the flagship of Hungarian socialist industrialisation, faces falling demand driven by the economic crisis and cash flow problems due to excessive advance dividends paid to shareholders. Although the trade unions accepted the company’s first wave of austerity measures, they rejected a second wave of proposed salary cuts. As negotiations with the government on possible assistance have also ceased, the company dismissed over 500 workers.
- 10 Nov 2009
Hungary: Constitutional Court ruling paves way for new social dialogue law
Hungary’s parliament has passed several acts that regulate the operation of national tripartite forums and the bipartite sectoral social dialogue committees, reducing their previous functions of public power to consultation. The move followed a Constitutional Court ruling that revoked the co-determination right of social partners on certain issues. With the passing of these acts, the criteria of representativeness have also been enacted.
- 05 Oct 2009
Hungary: Government amends labour legislation in bid to tackle economic crisis
In an attempt to alleviate the effects of the economic crisis, the Hungarian government amended several laws in favour of employers as of 1 June 2009. The legal modifications affected the Labour Code with respect to several working time related issues, as well as the laws stipulating the rules of exclusion for law-breaking employers from state subsidies and public procurement. From the outset, the trade unions strongly opposed the draft versions of the legal amendments.
- 25 Sep 2009
Hungary: Agreement resolves dispute at MALÉV Airlines
On taking up his position at MALÉV Airlines, the airline’s new chief executive officer made an immediate restructuring announcement. After a two-hour warning strike in the summer of 2009, pilots at MALÉV Airlines reached an agreement with the company management on a new salary structure and the company policy on no longer hiring pilots from temporary work agencies. Both the employer and trade union are satisfied with the outcome of the negotiations.
- 22 Sep 2009
Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Steel industry – Hungary
The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the steel industry in Hungary. In order to determine their relative importance in the sector’s industrial relations, this study will, in particular, focus on their representational quality as well as on their role in collective bargaining.
- 18 Sep 2009
Hungary – Greening the European economy: responses and initiatives by Member States and social partners
Although there have been several governmental initiatives at promoting environmental issues which are also addressed in policy documents, there is no comprehensive strategy for greening the Hungarian economy. In the context of the current economic situation the government is aiming to tackle the consequences of the economic crisis with measures promising short-term results, rather than making investments with long-term returns. The promotion and production of green energy has gained more attention in recent years, partly as a response to the country’s dependency of fossil fuels imported from abroad.
- 15 Sep 2009
Hungary: Flexicurity and industrial relations
The concept of ’flexicurity’ has not yet been implemented in Hungary. So far, it has only appeared as an interpretation of EU policies and in proposals for changing labour law and labour market policies. Nonetheless, there are public policies and occasionally collective agreements, which can be viewed as attempts at a trade-off between flexibility and security, but they do not apply a ‘flexicurity’ approach. Notwithstanding, labour economists found that the Hungarian labour market seems to fall close to the scheme of extreme of weak job protection and high flexibility rather than the other way around.
- 29 Jul 2009
Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Tanning and leather sector – Hungary
The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the tanning and leather sector in Hungary. In order to determine their relative importance in the sector’s industrial relations, this study will, in particular, focus on their representational quality as well as on their role in collective bargaining.
- 13 Jul 2009
Hungary: Annual wage bargaining and national summits on economic crisis
Alongside the summit meetings addressing the economic crisis, wage negotiations held in the autumn of 2008 in Hungary followed the customary pattern. Albeit increasing social and economic tensions, agreement was reached after difficult negotiations between the parties. The agreement, maintains a two-level minimum wage system, with a higher amount for skilled workers. However, it is valid for one year only, as employers rejected a longer-term agreement due to the economy’s unpredictability.
- 02 Jul 2009
Hungary: Multinational companies and collective bargaining
In Hungary MNCs employ 35% of the private sector workforce and produce 60% of the GDP and 65% to the export of the country. Our knowledge on collective bargaining in MNCs is limited. As far as statistics and case studies allow generalisation, one can assume that no major differences can be found between foreign and domestic companies. Basically, the majority of MNCs adopt the Hungarian standards, in other words, they are satisfied by the permissive business environment characterised by lax regulations, limited role of workers’ representation and collective bargaining.
- 29 Jun 2009
Hungary: Recent unrest in transport sector raises questions about strike regulations
In December 2008 and January 2009, considerable strike activity took place in the public transport sector, involving railway workers at the Budapest Transport Company and at Budapest Airport. Furthermore, the government’s plan to cut employees’ ‘13th month’ wages mobilised public sector unions to reactivate their strike committee. This wave of industrial action put strike regulations with regard to essential services and other issues back on the agenda.
- 18 Jun 2009
Hungary: Series of national summits called to tackle economic crisis
Hungary’s former Prime Minister called a series of national summits, where leaders of all political parties, financial experts and social partners gathered to discuss the effects of the global economic crisis on Hungary. The objective of the top-level negotiations, held between September 2008 and January 2009, was to reach consensus on a package of wide reforms in key areas; however, strong divisions emerged between the social partners on ways to avert the crisis.
- 28 Apr 2009
Hungary: wage flexibility and collective bargaining
- 28 Apr 2009
Representativeness of the European social partner organisations: Hospitals – Hungary
The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the hospital sector in Hungary. In order to determine their relative importance in the sector’s industrial relations, this study will, in particular, focus on their representational quality as well as on their role in collective bargaining.
- 31 Mar 2009
Hungary: Wage formation
Although Hungary has a three tier bargaining system – including the National Interest Reconciliation Council setting the minimum wage and wage agreements at sectoral and company level – the labour market has a decisive role in individual wage setting. Between 1999 and 2006 wages increased faster than the GDP and productivity but in 2007 real wages decreased by 4.8% due to the introduction of the government’s austerity package. Minimum wage increases, especially a separate increase for skilled workers, is an issue of debate between the social partners.
- 09 Mar 2009
Hungary: The impact of the information and consultation Directive
The main novelty of the new legislation implementing the Directive is that representatives of employers and employees are legally bound to consult with each other in good faith and with a view to reaching agreement. The latter was not a condition for former consultation procedures, with the exception of consultation in case of collective redundancy and transfer of undertakings. The implementing provisions are to be found apart from the rights and obligations of the workers' representatives, and the legislation is therefore rather complicated.
- 23 Feb 2009
Hungary: Controversy over privatisation of regional hospital
The management rights of the main hospital in Eger, the capital of Heves county in northern Hungary, have been transferred to a private company. This move sparked fierce resistance from the opposition-led local municipality, trade unions and local citizens’ groups alike. Doctors and paramedics staged protests. Even the legality of the transfer was questioned by regional authorities; nevertheless, eventually the new operator was permitted to take over the hospital.
- 23 Feb 2009
Hungary: Controversy over government plan to tackle economic crisis
The Hungarian government has prepared a package of measures to address the effects of the deepening global economic crisis on the labour market, focusing particularly on help for export-oriented manufacturing plants and small and medium-sized enterprises in order to preserve jobs. The package was debated by labour market experts and social partners in the National Interest Reconciliation Council and received a mixed reaction.
- 06 Feb 2009
Hungary: Collective bargaining and continuous vocational training in Europe
Although the right to participate in training is ensured by law for every citizen and employee in Hungary, and quite a wide range of adult training and CVT opportunities are offered by training companies, NGOs and employers, adult training participation rates are considerably lower than the EU average and CVT activities of employers vary greatly according to sector and company size. Social partners are involved in the policy- and decision-making processes of CVT through various tripartite bodies at national as well as regional level. In relation to legislative provisions, the role of social dialogue – advising and reviewing CVT policies - is regulated at national, regional and company level. Although life long learning as a national level policy objective, as well as various issues concerning vocational training, are widely discussed in the social dialogue forums, CVT as a company policy is practically missing from collective agreements.