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Employers, unions see eye to eye on minimum wage rise proposal

Employers and labor unions both proposed at a meeting of the national interest coordination council OÉT on Tuesday raising the monthly minimum wage to HUF 73,500 in 2010 from the current HUF 71,500, maintaining the value of real wages in light of projected 3.9% average annual inflation.  

Unions and government representatives agreed to the proposal by employers to keep net wages unchanged in real terms, taking into account the effect of tax changes that will include the expansion of the personal income tax base with employers' payroll taxes as well as a higher threshold between the country's two personal income tax brackets. Unions also demanded employers draw up a table for the changes that includes different wage categories.

A final agreement will depend on coming together on several remaining questions, said Péter Pataky, who heads unions association MSzOSz. The minimum wage for skilled workers must still be discussed, he added.

Employers association VOSz has proposed raising the monthly minimum wage for skilled workers to HUF 89,000, but in two steps, said VOSz chief secretary Ferenc Dávid.

State secretary at the Prime Minister's Office Gábor Csizmár proposed raising the minimum wage for skilled workers to HUF 89,000 from January 1 and to HUF 90,000 from July 1. The minimum would have to rise to HUF 90,800 if the real value of the wage is to be maintained.

To keep the value of real wages, gross wages must be raised to HUF 160,000 a month, although no rise is necessary for people earning between HUF 160,000 and HUF 600,000 a month, government calculations show.

The proposal, if approved, would raise gross wages across the board by about 1.5%.

About a year earlier, employers agreed with unions on a 3%-5% gross wage rise for 2009. (MTI-Econews)