President Janos Ader has signed an amendment to the labour code, the president’s office said on its website on Thursday. Opposition parties and trade unions protested in three cities.
In a statement published on the website, Ader said he had assessed the amendment approved by parliament on December 12 from three aspects. First of all, he established that the amendment was compatible with the constitution. Secondly, he compared the new overtime regulations with those in force in other European countries and found that in several countries, including the UK, Denmark, Ireland and the Czech Republic, the allowed overtime is equal or more than in Hungary. Thirdly, he assessed how the amendment would affect Hungary’s 4.5 million employees and whether the guarantees protecting them decreased. Ader said the new law does not weaken the protective regulations affecting employees. Increased overtime can only be applied after preliminary written approval by the employee and the employer must not punish those who are unwilling to work overtime, he added.
The amendment to the labour code, despite some concerns raised, must not hinder the peaceful celebration of Christmas and the upcoming holiday period, Ader said and wished all citizens of Hungary a merry Christmas and a happy new year.
Several opposition parties protested against Ader’s move, called for further resistance and announced a fight against what they called a “slave law”. Conservative Jobbik said that the president has followed the government in “obeying the orders of large foreign companies”. The party pledged to fight with ever greater intensity against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s “corrupt, pseudo-nationalist regime” and called on “all decent Hungarians” to join the struggle. The Democratic Coalition (DK) said that “Fidesz party-soldier Ader, whom DK has never accepted as a president, has signed a slave law which will cripple millions of Hungarians.” The leftist party said that with this gesture “Ader has once again become an accomplice to a crime”. The green LMP said “Ader has proven again that he only represents the interests of Fidesz and the large foreign companies rather than those of the republic and the Hungarian employees”.
Opposition parties and trade unions protested in three Hungarian cities in the countryside on Thursday. In Zalaegerszeg, in western Hungary, demonstrators blocked half of a road for over three hours near an industrial park. The demonstration jointly organised by Jobbik, the Socialist Party, the Democratic Coalition (DK), the LMP and the Metalworkers’ Union involved over thirty vehicles and protesters holding Hungarian and European Union flags, as well as party and trade union flags and posters with their demands.
In Kecskemet, in central Hungary, DK, LMP, the Socialists, Jobbik, Momentum, unions and civic organisations held a car procession. They demanded the immediate withdrawal of the “slave law”, reduced overtime for police, independent courts, Hungary joining the European Prosecutor’s Office and independent public media.
In Bekescsaba, in south-eastern Hungary, around hundred people gathered to demonstrate against the government in front of the editorial offices of the local daily. Speakers from the Socialists, Jobbik, DK and the Liberals protested against the “fake news from the propaganda press and one-sided, misleading information supplies”.
Source and photo: MTI