Opposition parties protest against “slave law”

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Opposition MPs blocked access to the dais of the speaker of the house in an attempt to prevent the amendment of the labor law that increases the annual allowed overtime to 400 hours from a previous 250 hours. The amendment eventually passed with 130 votes for, 52 against and one abstention.

Opposition parties subsequently organized street protests in downtown Budapest that riot police had to disperse with tear gas.

Opposition protests

Protests in downtown Budapest (MTI/Balázs Mohai)

Fidesz caucus leader Máté Kocsis said afterwards that opposition MPs, mostly “right-wing hooligans and leftist anarchists” even resorted to physical violence. Kocsis also refuted the grounds on which opposition politicians opposed the amendment. He said that contrary to opposition claims, overtime will not be paid once every three years, but monthly and the 400 hours were not mandatory but the individual choice of employees.

He also said that the higher overtime limit – again contrary to opposition claims – wasn’t higher than what is allowed in other member states of the European Union: in fact, relevant EU guidelines allow 418 hours of overtime a year. 

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