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Unions appealing to top court for sacked teachers

Teachers' trade unions will appeal to the Constitutional Court in the case of teachers dismissed from their jobs because of civil disobedience, Socialist co-leader and MP Agnes Kunhalmi told a press conference on Thursday.

Kunhalmi said she had collected the signatures of 50 MPs to support an initiative by the unions to thwart a government decree under which teachers’ participation in acts of civil disobedience could be considered a serious breach of obligations. Civil disobedience is “customary in bourgeois democracies”, she said, adding that the dismissal of teachers “shows that Hungary is not a democracy nor a rule of law”.

Union PDSZ leader Erzsebet Nagy said that under the government decree a teacher involved in civil disobedience “may not be dismissed instantly; they could work all year long and be given notice of immediate effect on August 1”.

Nagy also said current problems in education could be resolved without the government’s contested draft on the legal status of teachers, which would “strip them of acquired rights”. She also insisted that “the crazy draft” was the only bone of contention between the Hungarian government and the EU preventing the country from accessing community funding. “Raising salaries, reducing work load and paying for overtime would all be possible without the status law,” she said.

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