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14th March, 2019

Top German executive beaten by restaurant security guards

The head of one of Germany’s largest car manufacturers was beaten by security guards in Budapest’s party zone, suffering severe injuries, last Friday night.

The 57-year-old German citizen came to Budapest to visit his son, who is living in Hungary.

The incident occurred when the family returned to the fashionable Seventh District restaurant where they had dined earlier, but were denied entry.

The man’s lawyer said security staff attacked the executive’s two sons with gas spray and struck and kicked them.

Their father tried to record the incident with his smartphone, but he was also attacked and beaten.

The father was hospitalised but chose to leave for Germany where doctors said he needed immediate surgery.

His lawyer said the man’s skull and cheekbone were broken.

The tabloid Blikk reported that the incident was recorded by a CCTV camera.

Police said they have questioned four men as suspects.

They said two people were lightly injured and one man suffered severe injuries. (atv.hu; blikk.hu; index.hu; 444.hu; 24.hu; magyarhirlap.hu)
14th March, 2019

Opera staff gearing up to strike

Opera House trade unions delayed a performance on Saturday night and may take similar action, as worker unrest is at high level, HVG reports.

Staff want a collective bargain contract again and that is why they held up Saturday’s performance of Carmen.

Some 70% of the male choir, 50% of the female choir and a few musicians were on strike. Opera chief Szilveszter Okovacs told the audience that the staff demands a pay hike but said there is no way he can comply.

Individual pay hikes would be possible, but Okovacs would link such increases to the withdrawal of strike threat.

Some of the choir went on strike in one part of the performance at the Erkel Theatre, which since the Opera is under restoration, is the only place where the Hungarian State Opera can give performances. The performance got off to a start with a 20-minute delay.

The story began in the autumn of 2017 when the Opera management, despite promises, cancelled the collective agreement four days before it expired.

In the dispute that ensued between the unions and the employer a strike was called for October 28, 2017. Courts eventually ruled that the strike was legal, but it never took place.

Balazs Barany, president of the Independent Union of Opera Staff, said “people are afraid,” worried that they will be laid off or given a poor evaluation.

While many staff saw their salary drop by 20-25%, the salaries of Opera management rose. Okovacs also admitted the fact of the wage drop.

The unions attempted (there are three unions at the Opera) to hold negotiations but Barany said they were told that the management has no time to talk with them although under the law it is obliged to do so. A court also established that the law had been violated but there is no penalty.

Human Resources Minister Miklos Kasler did not reply to a letter of complaint.

Union leader Barany said the strikes will recur if there is no progress, as basic salaries at the Opera have not been raised for 16 years. (hvg.hu; nepszava.hu)

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