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Teachers hold demonstration in Budapest

Speakers at a teachers' "checkered shirt" demonstration in front of the parliament building on Saturday stressed that the right to strike is a fundamental right.

The demonstration was held as part of a teachers’ strike that started on March 16.

Erzsebet Nagy of teachers’ union PDSZ said that the “miserable” salary situation cannot be remedied with “allowances scattered like crumbs”, adding that “superfluous administration” makes teachers’ work more difficult and the accreditation system is “completely unnecessary and useless”. She also pointed out that teachers are leaving the profession “en masse”.

Nagy said the public education system “fell apart long ago” but is being “held together by the professionalism of teachers”.

She added that if the government had invested as much energy in negotiations as in working to prevent the strike, “the promised land would already be here”.

Nagy said teachers are prepared to turn to the European Court of Human Rights.

She also said that the number of teachers who joined the strike was 20,000 higher than the figure mentioned by Gergely Gulyas, the prime minister’s chief of staff.

Leaders of public sector workers union MKKSZ, the Hungarian Unions Association and other organisations spoke at the demonstration, as well as teachers, students and parents.

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