The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) and LMP parties on Saturday demanded an at least 45% immediate increase of teachers’ wages, criticising the government’s planned increase. The interior ministry overseeing education said late on Friday that the government had earmarked 67.6 billion forints (EUR 167m) temporarily in central funding for giving teachers a 10% wage hike until Hungary receives EU funding it is entitled to. The wages of teachers is planned to be increased gradually over the next three years, the ministry said in a statement. Once Hungary receives the EU funding, those wages will be increased by 21% instead of 10% next year, by 25% in 2024 and by 29-30% in 2025, it said. In a statement, DK said that “After Interior Minister Sándor Pintér, the police general ordered to discipline rebelling schools, lectured and intimidated teachers at their recent meeting held behind closed doors, came as a next step the Orbán government’s punishment: some adjustment to the teacher’s wage allowance instead of a wage increase”. DK called the measure “humiliating”, arguing that the inflation caused by the Orbán regime “devalues teachers’ wages dramatically” which will lead to teachers’ leaving their jobs in large numbers. LMP said that the interior minister “does not take notice of the teachers’ problems and does not even understand the current situation”. The party demanded an at least 45% wage increase, insisting that a shortage of teachers due to low wages would jeopardise the future of education.
The Párbeszéd party called the increase announced “humiliating and deceptive”, arguing that because of inflation, wages next year “would be worth a lot less”. The party said in a statement that the government should stop “pointing a finger at the EU over unlocked funding”, noting that state secretary Bence Rétvári “had recently admitted in parliament that 85-90% of the wage increase for teachers should be covered from state coffers”.