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LMP calls on government to withdraw decree sanctioning teachers

The opposition LMP party said a government decree penalising teachers who have mounted protests was both legally and morally unfounded, and it demanded its withdrawal.

Teachers can be penalised for their current actions at any time until the end of the school year under the decree, the party’s deputy group leader Antal Csardi told a press briefing on Friday, adding that the decree was contrary to the rule of law and a departure from the labor code.

He said this deprivation of rights was more serious than the restriction of the right to strike, adding that the aim of the decree was to intimidate teachers who spoke out against poor teaching conditions and their hardships making a living.

Noting headline inflation of 24.5 percent in December and a 14 percent rise in the minimum wage, he said that by comparison a salary increase of just 10 percent was awarded to teachers.

The PSZ teacher union has claimed the government “has backed down” in connection with civil disobedience by teachers from Szentgotthard.

Most of the teaching staff, 29 teachers, “with their united stand proved that sacking an entire teaching staff when there is a big shortage of teachers does not work,” PSZ said in a statement on Friday, adding that it will join a strike announced by the PDSZ teacher union.

PSZ said it had promised to carry on protesting until the demands of teachers and the trade union are met, adding that they called on all education staff to participate in a one-week work stoppage starting on Jan. 23. The statement added: “What 2022 failed to solve, 2023 will!”

Interior ministry state secretary Bence Retvari said the decree put the interests of students first.

When it comes to the students, what matters is secure learning conditions, that they are being supervised and that only half of the classes are cancelled if there is a work stoppage, Retvari told commercial news channel HirTV.

Teachers have legal means of protesting, such as a demonstration or a strike, he said. In the past, organising a strike was a long process, but now it is enough to announce one just five days ahead of time, he added.

Explaining the decree, Retvari said employers now have more than 15 days to decide whether they want to exercise the options available to them under the labour code. The aim of the change is to ensure that the school year can go on as scheduled, he added.


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