Teachers demand higher pay, mull strike

Budapest, October 19 (MTI) – Trade unions in Hungary’s public education have set up a strike committee, Piroska Gallo, head of the teachers’ trade union PSZ, announced at a press conference on Friday.

The teachers demand that public sector wages should be raised by 20 percent next year and that the government suspends plans to transfer schools from local governments to the state, Laszlo Mendrey, head of PDSZ – another teachers’ union – said at the event.


The unions also demand that the government postpones the introduction of teacher career models and parliament passes “all measures necessary to conclude the 2012-13 school year in order and commence the next academic year”, Mendrey said.


Gallo said that the unions had notified Prime Minister Viktor Orban about the strike committee and requested that the government appoints a negotiating partner.


Under Hungary’s strike law, representatives of the government side need to meet the strike committee seven times, during which a warning strike is allowed. A strike could be called if agreement is not reached during the seven rounds of talks.


Mendrey voiced hope that a “sensible solution” could be found to avoid a strike at schools.


The national forum of trade unions (SZEF) is also mulling the possibility of a general public sector strike, SZEF said in a statement on Friday.


The forum issued its statement after talks between the government and employee representatives of the public sector broke down when the government “said no to all employee proposals”.

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