The union of public service workers (MKKSZ) will call a nationwide strike for March 14 unless it can reach a deal with the government on better pay and work conditions for workers, the head of the union said. MKKSZ plans to carry out its strike in support of the demands of local government and public administration workers on its own, but will organise a joint strike with the union of social sector workers (SZAD) on behalf of public service workers in the social sector, Erzsébet Boros told a press conference. Other labour unions are also set to participate in the work stoppages, she said. Boros lamented what she called the “extremely poor treatment” of public service workers by the government, pointing out that some 17,000 local government workers have not seen a pay rise for 11 years. She called the recent amendment to the labour code which raised the annual threshold for overtime from 250 to 400 hours “unacceptable”, adding that MKKSZ was calling for its repeal.
She said the main reasons behind the problems facing public service workers were the sector’s “unsustainable, disorganised and professionally uninterpretable wage policy” and the “completely chaotic wage system”. She said MKKSZ wants the minimum wage to be the starting point for all public service wage systems, while workers with vocational training backgrounds should be paid the minimum wage for skilled workers. A new minimum wage for jobs that require higher education qualifications should also be introduced, she added. Boros said she had informed the prime minister of the planned strike on Wednesday and had asked him to appoint a delegation for talks with the union.