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Public sector unions propose raising minimum wages

The Forum for the Cooperation of Trade Unions (SZEF), which represents the unions of teachers, healthcare and social workers, and those employed in public administration, is proposing raising gross monthly minimum wages for both skilled and unskilled workers by more than one-third in 2019.

SZEF proposes raising the gross monthly minimum wage for unskilled laborers from HUF 138,000 to HUF 190,000 next year. It also proposes raising the minimum monthly wage for skilled workers from HUF 180,500 to HUF 247,000, and wants to introduce a minimum wage of HUF 321,000 for employees with a college or university degree, SZEF Chairman András Földiák said on Wednesday, as reported by state news agency MTI.

The proposals translate as a 38% rise in the minimum wage for unskilled laborers, and a 37% increase for skilled workers. SZEF calculates the increases would raise central budget expenditures by some HUF 169 billion.

Minimum wage rises for 2017 and 2018 were set in an agreement reached between employers, unions and the government late in 2016, MTI recalled. The agreement raised the minimum wage for unskilled laborers by 15% in 2017, and 8% in 2018, and the minimum wage for skilled workers by 25% in 2017 and 12% in 2018. The wage rises were paired with payroll tax cuts.

After 2018, minimum wage rises are to be determined on the basis of annual consultations between the government, employers and unions, according to the agreement.