More than 15,000 people came out on the streets of Hungary’s capital Budapest on Sunday against amendments in labour laws. The trade unions and opposition parties give the call for protests against changes in the labour laws. The new laws are dubbed as slave labour laws by unions and opposition parties.
The new slave labour laws allowed the employers to demand 400 hours of overtime instead of 250 hours with delayed payment up to three (3) years. The other changes also made in the labour laws to benefit the employers. The trade unions and workers are outraged on the new laws. The government says the changes are needed by employers short of manpower and will benefit those wanting to work extra hours.
This was the biggest mobilisation against extreme rightwing populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban since 2010. Orban has been accused by international human rights groups and organisation for violating the human and democratic rights. He has strong authoritarian tendencies and clamping down the independent media and democratic rights to silence the dissent and opposition.
The current protests are the most violent in recent history. The current wave of protests erupted since the new labour laws adopted by the parliament dominated by ruling party. The protestors marched to the parliament Square to register their protest and anger. They chanted slogans against Prime Minister Orban and his policies. Protesters led by two opposition lawmakers later marched to Hungary’s public television headquarters to read a petition but were refused access.
They don’t negotiate with anyone. They just do whatever they want. They steal everything. It’s intolerable. It cannot go on,” said one transport worker. The police once again used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. The police so far arrested many protestors and nearly 16 have so far been injured.
Other reforms passed by parliament, which is dominated by Orban’s ruling party, include a bill paving the way for new “administrative courts” to oversee public administration cases. The justice minister Laszlo Trocsanyi, a close Orban ally, would oversee the courts, leading some to warn the premier could have near-total political influence over the judicial system.
Anger over the legislation has prompted opposition parties across the spectrum, who accuse Orban and his ruling Fidesz party of steering Hungary toward authoritarianism, to join forces. Pro-government public and commercial media have portrayed the protesters as anarchists and “mercenaries of George Soros”.
The Hungarian-born US billionaire Soros has long been accused by Orban of plotting to destabilise Hungary.
The protestors are demanding immediate withdrawal of slave laws over time bill for workers. Less overtime hours for police, Independent judiciary, independent public media and Hungry must join European Public Prosecutor’s Office.
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17 November, 2019