Unions Propose 10% Minimum Wage Rise for Skilled Workers

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Unions have proposed the minimum wage be raised 10% for skilled workers and 15% for unskilled laborers next year, the head of the National Federation of Workers' Councils (MOSZ) told MTI after a meeting of the VKF, a forum of employers, unions and the government, on Wednesday.

Imre Palkovics said higher wages would boost domestic consumption and support economic growth.

László Perlusz, the chief secretary of the National Association of Businesses and Employers (VOSZ), told MTI that "most employers" were thinking in terms of a 10-15% average wage rise, if this year's GDP growth was close to zero. More precise figures could be tabled after third-quarter GDP data is published, he added.

Both employers and unions proposed allowing businesses to pay their lowest earners a one-off HUF 100,000, free of payroll tax, to compensate for this year's inflation, Perlusz said. 

The idea was raised to restructure the minimum wage categories over a four-year period, keeping the minimum wage for unskilled laborers, while establishing a wage scale for various sectors of the economy that would serve as a benchmark for minimum wages for skilled workers, he said. Such a system would allow employers "greater flexibility" and the chance to set higher minimum wages for skilled workers in "more competitive" sectors, he added.

Palkovics agreed that the dual minimum wage system should be phased out and suggested the two minimum wages could "merge" around 2027 when they reach the HUF 350,000-370,000 level. After that, a sectoral wage scale could be the guideline for minimum remuneration of skilled workers, he added.

Hungary's statutory monthly minimum wage was raised by 16% to HUF 232,000 for unskilled laborers and by 14% to HUF 296,400 for skilled workers on January 1.

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