Illustration - Photo: pxfuel

Jobbik protests against import of guest workers

The parliamentary group of the opposition Jobbik-Conservatives party on Monday held a protest against the import of foreign guest workers to Hungary in front of the prime minister's office in Budapest's Castle District.

Laszlo Gyorgy Lukacs, the party’s group leader, said the import of “cheap Asian migrant workers” had picked up lately as the government was letting tens of thousands of guest workers into the country, where they carried out low-wage labour.

He said the government itself was partly responsible for financing the guest workers since its policies supported factories from the East setting up in Hungary, and such companies preferred to employ cheap labour from abroad instead of “valuing the well-trained Hungarian workforce”.

In effect, he added, the government was sponsoring a population exchange given that people struggling to find work in Hungary were forced to emigrate.

Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Coalition party on Monday also expressed its support for paying Hungarian workers a proper wage rather than importing underpaid guest workers.

Under a draft bill drawn up by the prime minister’s cabinet office, companies that employ at least sixty percent non-EU guest workers would reap generous tax breaks, Ferenc Varga, a DK politician who sits as an independent, told an online press briefing, adding that the measure was a “betrayal of Hungarians”. He said sacking a Hungarian employee to make way for a non-EU guest worker instead should be prohibited.

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