Appeals court orders renewal of SZFE strike case

The Budapest appeals court on Wednesday ordered the renewal of a court procedure on a strike of employees at the University of Theatre and Film Arts (SZFE) in Budapest.

Employees of the university have been on strike since October 1, and students blockaded university buildings since September in protest against a new leadership, which they see as illegitimate. The blockade was stopped on Tuesday, in compliance with new restrictions against the coronavirus epidemic.

The court said in its ruling that it had made “no substantive ruling regarding the lawfulness of the strike.”

In its first instance ruling, the Budapest court said the strike was unlawful, a decision the employees appealed.

The foundation, which took over the leadership of the university in the summer, said earlier that the foundation had met two of the eight requests the strike committee had submitted. “Another request to return to the previous work schedule has also been fulfilled, and the court declared the remaining points unlawful,” the foundation said.

The strikers have also demanded that the “model shift” at the university should be discontinued altogether.

In a statement later in the day, SZFE teachers insisted that the appeals court had ruled their remaining six requests were lawful.

“Despite the Chancellor’s letter on Friday ordering that teaching be stopped, we will continue to teach as a new form of resistance,” the statement said. “We believe [the leadership’s] cancelling the term without a formal decision to be unlawful and contrary to the founding document.”

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