Govt, employers and unions sign agreement on collective rights in new Labour Code

Parliament

The government has signed an agreement with representatives of employers and unions on collective rights of workers in the new Labour Code, National Economy Ministry Gyorgy Matolcsy said on Friday.

Mr Matolcsy said the agreement had been reached after "difficult, but constructive" talks. The sides agreed that Hungary needs a new Labour Code that supports job creation, protects existing jobs and allows flexible forms of employment.

Employers’ and unions’ representatives said the agreement would not have been reached without the trilateral talks or if the present version of the code was not incomparable to the original draft.

Ferenc Rolek, deputy head of business association MGYOSZ, said the agreement guarantees employers’ basic rights and establishes the efficient operation of unions.

Imre Palkovics, who heads the Labourers Council, said unions could choose only between "bad" and "worse" at the talks. If the latest compromise had not been reached, the text of the original law would have remained and unions could have taken international legal recourse, but by the time the results of this action would become apparent, the country’s unions would have already been wound up, he added.

Peter Pataky, chairman of unions association MSZOSZ, said the agreement ensures minimal conditions for the operation of unions. It guarantees against any cut in compensation and requires pay for overtime, he added.

Istvan Gasko, head of the Liga association of unions, said unions would have a harder time representing workers’ interests, but at least they still could.

The new Labour Code was issued for professional debate in June and talks with unions and employers started in August. Parliament is scheduled to votes on amendment to the bill on Monday.

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