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Public sector real wages seen to drop 6%-8% by 2008

Hungary's new austerity package could result in a 3%-4% fall-off in real wages in both this year and the next, Finance Ministry undersecretary Álmos Kovács told a conference on Friday. However, real income, which includes benefits and in-kind contribution, would drop less, by 2%-3%, he said.  Kovács noted that the drop in real wages would come entirely from the public sector; private sector wages are unlikely to decrease.  Kovács's statements go counter to earlier statements by government officials that the austerity program would not result in a fall in real wages this year. (Econews)