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Employers and unions reach 2009 wage agreement

Hungarian employers and unions agreed at a Friday meeting of the National Interest Coordination Council (OÉT) to a general wage increase of 3%-5% in 2009 and to establish the monthly minimum wage at HUF 71,500 next year.

Hungary's current monthly minimum wage is HUF 69,000.

As a result of the agreement, the minimum monthly wage for skilled workers will be increased from the current HUF 86,500 in two phases, first to HUF 87,000 in January, then to HUF 87,500 in July.

The OÉT asked everyone involved in local wage negotiations to make retaining jobs their highest priority. The council also urged that an agreement be reached on 2009 public-sector wages as soon as possible.

The Hungarian Association of Industrialists and Employers (MGyOSz) and the National Alliance of Employers and Entrepreneurs (VOSz) noted that they did not agree with the stipulations of the agreement, though did not attempt to obstruct the settlement either.

The minimum wage provides the base for several taxes in Hungary, thus its increase boosts revenue from pensions and health care contributions. However, the minimum wage rise also results in higher child-care and sick-leave expenditures. (MTI – Econews)