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Several trade unions voiced their solidarity with a strike organised by teachers’ union PDSZ across the country on Wednesday. Speaking in front of a Budapest primary school, Erzsébet Boross, the head of public servants’ union MKKSZ, expressed her union’s support for a demand for a 20% pay rise offsetting inflation to be paid retroactively from July 1. She voiced opposition to changes to occupational health and safety rules as well as the rule requiring state institutions to limit their heating to 18°C. Boross said the union demanded a right to strike that ensured fair wages and talks where the sides were considered equals. “We’ve had enough of public servants being condescended to and the fact that there are no consultations about working and living conditions or wage talks,” Boross said. She added that MKKSZ expected the government to treat public servants “as people … not as those on whom it can save money”.
László Nagy, head of the strike committee at Budapest’s Kölcsey Ferenc Secondary School, said that although he was one of the 45 teachers at the school who were participating in today’s strike, he was still required by law to teach four of his six classes. “This is not a strike. It’s impossible to stage a strike like this,” he said. “A strike can’t be sustained if it can’t be seen.”
PDSZ national board head Anna Komjáthy said that some 13,000-14,000 teachers from more than 200 schools had been projected to take part in Wednesday’s strike. She said PDSZ has called another strike for Oct. 14, noting that it was on this day a year ago when PDSZ presented its demands jointly with fellow teacher union PSZ.
István Taskovics, head of social security workers’ union TBDSZ, criticised the decision to suspend the regulation requiring an indoor temperature range of 20-22°C for workers.