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EuropeHungary obstructs the right of teachers to strike

Hungary obstructs the right of teachers to strike

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The Democratic Union of Hungarian Teachers and the Teacher’s Union have reported the following.

  • for years, trade unions have been struggling to organise strikes due to legal obstacles created by the Orbán Government (for a timeline, see Appendix A)
  • this unconstitutional political move is an abuse of emergency powers granted by the Authorisation/Coronavirus Act
  • teachers’ salaries in Hungary are among the lowest in the OECD (cf. OECD’s official data; for our strike demands, see Appendix B)
  • this is not merely about wages and working conditions: the lack of teachers threaten the whole education system of Hungary

They Unions have issued the following joint statement:

THE RIGHT TO STRIKE IS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT!

The Government of Hungary obstructs the right to strike by decree: joint press release of the Democratic Union of Hungarian Teachers and the Teacher’s Union concerning the Hungarian government’s decree 

The trade unions declare that the decree published in the official Hungarian Gazette on 11 February 2022 is unconstitutional. The trade unions consider the government’s abuse of emergency powers granted by the Authorisation Act to curb a constitutional right to be inadmissible. The government had no right to make this step, it was an abuse of the law.

The government should respect the judiciary as an independent branch of power! The task and the right of ruling in connection with a strike belong to the courts.

The conditions of the decree bear no relation to the realities of schools and kindergartens, i.e., given the lack of teachers and school aides, groups have been required to be merged for months. This is the very reason why the strike is necessary! As of today, this situation is even more pronounced. 

Should school and extracurricular activities be subjected to the requirements stipulated by the decree, then institutions would be unable to function. Not even for one minute, regardless of whether there is a strike or not.

At the peak of the fourth and the fifth wave of the pandemic, the government is not cognisant of these circumstances, but merely wants to use them in order to obstruct the right to strike. Decreeing that teaching is mandatory even during a strike has nothing to do with the pandemic – this evident from the ruling of the court of first instance confirmed by the court of second instance.

The unions will not stop defending the right to strike. If need be, we will take the case to the International Court.

Democratic Union of Hungarian Teachers

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