The Federation of Hungarian Trade Unions (MASZSZ) has called on the government to withdraw a recent decree under which employers could dismiss protesting teachers even months after the protest action. The decree was clearly “aimed at blackmailing and intimidating teachers”, the federation said in a statement on Sunday, adding all unions were “shocked that the sword of extraordinary dismissal could hover over the head of a teacher that has expressed open protest just once.” The government “won’t deal with the situation in education or find a solution to the problems of teachers [by resorting to such a measure]. Instead, they are demonstrating power in an effort to stifle actions,” the statement said. MASZSZ head Róbert Zlati said his federation supported teachers and students “protesting for a great, common cause: for high quality and free education”. Zlati said the decree’s justification was “extremely cynical” when it said the new rules would benefit “rebellious” teachers because they would be “offered an opportunity to work with the children entrusted to them to the end of the school year”. According to Zlati, the aim of the earlier rules, under which employers had 15 days to dismiss violators, was to ensure that employers would not leave teachers in suspense over a long period of time. “Removing that barrier offers a great opportunity to employers to blackmail or intimidate the employee,” he insisted. He noted that the new deadline for employers to decide if they want to sack a protesting teacher is August 1 each year.