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3rd January, 2019

Teachers union preparing for strike



More than 5,000 people have signed a petition circulated by the Democratic Union of Teachers (PDSZ), demanding changes in working hours and higher salaries, union president Tamas Szucs told Inforadio on Wednesday.

One demand is higher wages for those employees who are not hired as teachers and are paid according to the public service employees salary table, 80% of whom are paid the minimum wage, he added.

The union also demands that staff be paid for overtime hours and that teachers’ workload be reviewed.

Since other teachers’ unions have not taken a stand on these matters, PDSZ has swung into action on its own.

“It is certain that if other unions do not go on strike, then PDSZ will go it alone, even among the teachers’ unions,” Szucs declared.

The collection of signatures slowed down slightly last month as “events have overtaken it,” he said, referring to the more general protest waves.

The union will announce its formal demands at the trade union demonstration on January 5.

Negotiations with appropriate representatives of the cabinet can begin after that, Szucs said. (infostart.hu)
3rd January, 2019

Fidesz spent Ft 20mn on parties



The Fidesz caucus spent Ft 20 million on celebrations before Christmas, Nepszava reported, citing documents uploaded to the uvegzseb (glass pocket) page of the legislature’s official website parliament.hu

Fidesz spent Ft 8.7 million on a standing reception on December 17 and Ft 11.7 million a day later on another festive event.

Caucus leader Mate Kocsis and Eszter Rozgonyi signed the contracts on behalf of the caucus.

The highly expensive standing reception was organised by Csonakazoto caterers, which last year organised two parliamentary functions commissioned by Fidesz.

The other event was arranged by Rendezvenyguru, which has organised several gatherings for the Fidesz caucus.

The Ft 11.7 million sum was included in contracts to which the public procurement law does not apply, the documents reveal.

Szilvia Varga, a member of Rendezvenyguru, has organised Fidesz programmes for more than a decade, and was formerly on the board of trustees of the Public Services Foundation of state media.

Rendezvenyguru received a Ft 13 million commission in connection with the 1956 memorial year in 2017. Later that year it was commissioned to organise a nearly Ft 11 million party for Fidesz in the Balna building, for an event closing a national consultation campaign. (nepszava.hu; 168ora.hu; hvg.hu; index.hu; 444.hu)
3rd January, 2019

More police than demonstrators in Buda Castle



A heavy police presence was in place in Buda Castle on Wednesday morning in preparation for a protest rally outside the new Prime Minister’s Office which attracted only about a dozen participants.

The activists held up signs reading: “Viktor, the Castle Belongs to Everyone” while organiser Marta Naszaly of the Dialogue party delivered a short speech.

In principle, the gathering was scheduled for Orban’s first working day in his new office, but the prime minister was still in Brazil, where he attended Tuesday’s inauguration of President Jair Bolsonaro.

Naszaly told reporters that the relocation of the PMO and the Finance Ministry to the Castle is an unnecessary waste of money.

Asked why they did not organise a demonstration involving all the opposition parties, Naszaly said other parties had been invited, but “it is very early, the year has just begun,” and that she, as a First District councillor, can say what the opposition parties think about that.

The protest lasted for seven minutes. (hvg.hu; index.hu; infostart.hu; nepszava.hu; hirtv.hu; atv.hu)
3rd January, 2019

Higher pay rises than planned for soldiers



Soldiers and defence sector employees will receive higher pay hikes than originally planned, Defence Ministry state secretary Szilard Nemeth announced on Wednesday.

The cabinet decided in 2015 to gradually raise soldiers’ salaries by 50% and the last 5% increase is due now in January. However, instead of the 5% raise, salaries are going up 7.4%.

Nemeth also said that civilian staff working for the armed forces – who are classified in the new category of defence affairs employees from this year – will receive a 35% salary raise over four years.

The 20% raise to be effected in January, depending on qualifications, means an increase of Ft 39,200-74,100 for defence employees.

The increase for teachers employed by the armed forces could be Ft 45,300-79,300. (hirado.hu; magyarhirlap.hu; magyaridok.hu; echotv.hu)
3rd January, 2019

Pay increase for police officers



The salaries of professional police officers eligible for pay hikes rose by 5% on average from January 1, in accordance with the fifth phase of the wage hike launched for law enforcement staff in 2015, Interior Ministry state secretary Karoly Kontrat announced on Wednesday.

He said the salaries of professional police officers have risen by 50% on average since 2015.

The monthly salary of a senior detective with ten years of service and a higher education degree has grown from Ft 302,000 in 2015 to Ft 471,000 today.

Kontrat affirmed that, as further recognition of high-standard police work, the cabinet has laid aside Ft 12 billion to pay bonuses for good performance. (atv.hu; origo.hu; magyarhirlap.hu; magyaridok.hu; nepszava.hu; hirtv.hu)
3rd January, 2019

Opposition primary starts on Monday



The opposition parties’ primary process to select a candidate for mayor of Budapest begins on Monday, the head of the Socialists Budapest chapter, Zsolt Molnar, told a Wednesday press conference.

Molnar confirmed that the Socialist candidate is city councillor Csaba Horvath.

He added that the process is open to any candidate in Budapest.

So far, the Socialist, Democratic Coalition and Dialogue parties have joined the primary process.

Momentum, Jobbik and LMP did not join the process. LMP has indicated that it supports independent candidate Robert Puzser.

Declaring that a single candidate has the best chance to defeat incumbent Istvan Tarlos in Budapest, Molnar said the same may be true of other municipalities with Fidesz mayors.

This is why the Socialist Party is open for co-operation not only regarding street protests, but also in preparations for the European Parliament and municipal elections, Molnar added.

In answer to a question, he said he trusts that the mayoral candidate will be chosen by February 3. (atv.hu; hirtv.hu; 444.hu; index.hu; hvg.hu; mandiner.hu)
3rd January, 2019

Orban’s air fleet outlined



Prime Minister Viktor Orban may have flown on at least five special planes to foreign destinations in 2018, the website Atlatszo reports.

The government makes a secret of the costs of Orban’s official and private visits, and the armed forces have consistently claimed to Atlatszo that the two Airbus and the two Falcon aircraft used by the prime minister are not government planes, but were bought for military purposes.

With this stance, officials can refuse to disclose the procurement price of the planes and the costs of operating them by referring to national security considerations and by claiming that Orban’s trips are part of pilots’ training flights.

Atlatszo’s investigations produced a list of planes Orban may have flown on, but did not discover who may have paid for which trip.

In early February of 2018, the armed forces bought two Airbus A319 planes, and the prime minister used them several times, despite the fact that then defence minister Istvan Simicsko said the planes were not government aircraft.

Orban flew on the “non-government planes” to Israel, Montenegro, Moscow and Salzburg and flew on board military aircraft for official visits to Kirghizstan in September and Prague and Zagreb in November.

Orban also repeatedly travelled on board the Bombardier Global 6000 Austrian-registered private jet that is used by Lorinc Meszaros, and on the OTP luxury aircraft. On Monday Orban flew on board a Dassault Falcon 7X luxury jet to attend the inauguration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. (atlatszo.hu; hvg.hu; nepszava.hu)


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