3 – Regular violations of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Hungary

The ITUC affiliates in Hungary are the Autonomous Trade Union Confederation (ATUC/ASZSZ) (ATUC), the Democratic League of Independent Trade Unions (LIGA), the Magyar Szakszervezetel Orszáagos Szövetsége (MSZOSZ), and the National Federation of Workers’ Councils (MOSZ).

In practice

Browse by:

Union busting at tire maker Hankook09-02-2015

Since the start of its Hungarian operations, leading Korean tire maker Hankook has been relentless in its union busting union busting Attempts by an employer to prevent the establishment of a trade union or remove an existing union, e.g. by firing union members, challenging unions in court, or by forming a yellow union. . Recently, management dismissed the local union local union A local branch of a higher-level trade union such as a national union. president. On 4 August 2014, around 400 activists representing over 60 Hungarian trade unions joined together in front of the company premises in a major protest of the unjustified dismissal. The Federation of the Chemical, Energy and General Workers’ Union (VDSZ), outraged by the injustice from Hankook Tire, called for a joint protest that culminated in a demonstration of solidarity from different national unions in front of the gate entry of the company and messages of support from abroad.

Growing difficulty in exercising right to strike31-12-2011

Changes made by parliament to the law on strikes at the end of 2010 have led to rendering strikes illegal in companies providing core services to the population, unless the parties involved have agreed on the sufficient level and condition of services. When this condition is not met the level will be determined by the courts. With no detailed provisions laid out there is now considerable legal uncertainty.

This state of affairs has been exemplified by two cases:

In the spring of 2011 the Trade Union Federation of Bus Drivers decided to call a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
after bargaining with three county-level bus companies broke down, and requested that the court determine the core level of services that should be provided. The court has since twice rejected the union’s application, and has stated that the union has a vested interest in determining the conditions, even though the law is clear that the court needs to adjudicate on this.

The Trade Union of United Electricity Workers sought to strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
in June 2011 in protest at several of the government’s social and employment reforms. Here again the unions met with a lack of decision-making from the courts in determining minimum levels of service, thereby making any strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
action illegal.

Controversial media law also impacts on unions31-12-2011

The ’hectic decision-making’ of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government has been much criticised and the new media law in particular. The suspicion has been voiced that levels of employment were kept at 49 in three of the organisations subject to reform - Magyar Televízió, Magyar Rádió and Duna Televízió - to avoid the obligation to set up works councils.

Neglect of social dialogue damages industrial relations31-12-2010

In parallel to the changes to the law on the right to strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
, which were adopted in just one week by the Hungarian Parliament following an initiative by an individual MP, it should be further noted that there had been no previous consultation with the social partners social partners Unions and employers or their representative organisations. . The institutions of social dialogue social dialogue Discussion and co-operation between the social partners on matters of common interest, such as economic and social policy. Involves participation by the state where tripartism is practice. have been neglected by the new government in other matters as well: it failed to convene the National Interest Reconciliation Council for more than half a year and in a questionable manner – using individual MPs’ motions as a basis for action - it amended other laws concerning workers’ rights without any consultation.

Protection in court cumbersome30-11-2009

The National Confederation of Hungarian Trade Unions MSZOSZ reports that if a trade union refuses to agree to a shop steward shop steward A union worker who represents the members of a union in dealings with the employer. Often elected by union members who work in the same establishment. ’s dismissal, and the employer appeals against this in court, defending the trade union position becomes very difficult. A 2005 amendment to the Labour Code eased the trade union’s burden of proof, but it has not yet resulted in more effective protection of trade union officials.

Anti-union tactics30-11-2009

Anti-union behaviour is not uncommon. Cases of employers intimidating trade union members, transferring, relocating or dismissing trade union officers, and hindering trade unions from entering the workplace occur every year. Although unfair dismissal cases are usually won by the workers, court proceedings often take over a year.

In multinational companies workers either struggle to organise and to get recognition recognition The designation by a government agency of a union as the bargaining agent for workers in a given bargaining unit, or acceptance by an employer that its employees can be collectively represented by a union. , or try to defend earlier achievements from collective bargaining collective bargaining The process of negotiating mutually acceptable terms and conditions of employment as well as regulating industrial relations between one or more workers’ representatives, trade unions, or trade union centres on the one hand and an employer, a group of employers or one or more employers’ organisations on the other.

See collective bargaining agreement
. Flexible working arrangements aggravate the situation: for example, nearly a quarter of the workers at Nestlé’s chocolate factory in Miskolc are supplied by employment agencies. These workers cannot join a union, no matter how many times their contracts are renewed.

Prosecutors monitor trade union activities30-11-2009

The national legislation gives the prosecutors’ offices the right to oversee trade union activities. The prosecutors may review general and ad hoc decisions of the organisations, conduct inspections or request other state bodies to do so, and must be granted access to the trade union offices.

Prosecutors have organised inspections to verify “the lawfulness of trade union operations”. The unions were asked to provide documents such as registration documents, membership records with original membership application forms, minutes of the meetings of union bodies and their resolutions, the general ledger, an inventory of assets, documents pertaining to financial support including unsuccessful fund-raising applications, tax returns, statistical reports, invitations to trade union events and the like. The practice was not uniform, as some prosecutors only asked the union to provide a written summary of matters such as the membership or the union’s financial situation.

There were cases where the prosecutor was not satisfied with a trade union’s financial reporting, and ordered additional reports well above what is provided by law. Sometimes the prosecutor interfered in matters of a purely internal nature, such as weighted voting in trade union bodies or information on termination of membership. Trade unions can appeal against prosecutors’ orders in court, but the proceedings take time and in the meantime the union has to work in a climate of uncertainty. Court rulings only apply to specific cases so they do not prevent further interference by prosecutors in the future.

Many obstacles to union registration30-11-2009

Trade unions report that when registering a union, judges often request additional documents or data that is difficult to obtain and/or unnecessary for the establishment of a union. There have been cases where the judge asked the union to re-write its whole application due to some minor flaw in it. In addition, trade unions are required to prove that they have the right to use the property or the premises of their head office. If the premises are owned by several individuals or companies, the procedure becomes even more complicated. There were also cases where the employer’s written consent was required to establish a union or where the union had to use the company’s name in its official name.

The court’s bureaucratic and arbitrary approach not only causes delays but may create insurmountable obstacles to union registration: eliminating the shortcomings pointed out by the court often requires a new founding meeting with exactly the same people attending. If the union is unable to convene such a meeting within 45 days, registration will be denied.

There were also cases tantamount to direct interference in trade union administration: the court ordered the union to provide very detailed operational rules in its constitution, or to define which professional categories it covered, failing which the court would reject the membership fee rates (1% of the salary) as being “undemocratic”.

© ITUC-CSI-IGB 2013 | www.ituc-csi.org | Contact Design by Pixeleyes.be - maps: jVectorMap