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Unions and employers associations signed on Monday an agreement to raise the minimum wages, the economic development ministry said. The agreement was signed by all members of the VKF, a forum of employers, unions and the government, with the exception of unions association MASZSZ. Under the deal, the monthly minimum wage for unskilled labourers will rise by 15% to 266,800 forints (EUR 704), while the minimum wage for skilled workers will increase by 10% to 326,000 forints as of December 1. The agreement contains a recommendation for businesses to increase pay to a degree that ensures real wage growth. It also paves the way for talks on changes to the minimum wage system that would preserve earners’ purchasing power and expresses a commitment to encouraging collective contracts. Sándor Czomba, state secretary at the economic development ministry, said the agreement would favourably impact the whole of the national economy. He said the deadlines agreed on were “such signal points of direction that convey an important message to all players of the economy.” During the wage negotiations, he added, the sides had seen eye to eye. “It is worth making joint decisions in the longer run and focusing on strengthening the economy following this year’s measures aimed at reining in inflation,” he said, noting the government’s commitment to increasing real wages “every year in line with economic performance”.
Trade union federation MOSZ head Imre Palkovics said the agreement was “an acceptable compromise in light of the circumstances and economic reality”. Ferenc Rolek, deputy head of national employer federation MGYOSZ, said the early date on which the agreement had been reached indicated “a positive attitude” on the part of the sides in the talks. In view of a planned 6% inflation next year, the real income of minimum wage earners will increase by 9%, he said, adding that it was a great achievement by “an economy just recovering from recession”.