- 13 Dec 2018 6:45 AM
- Hungary Matters
The legislation on the measures was passed with a vote of 130 for, 52 against and 1 abstention. Unions had protested the planned changes, but the government argued they would serve the interests of workers for whom choosing to work extra hours would be voluntary.
Opposition MPs started singing the Hungarian anthem during the vote, followed by booing while holding their MP cards in the air. They then left the chamber.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán hailed the amendments as “an important and good legislation.”
“I pay attention to everyone, especially the trade unions, I observe their opinion, respect the freedom of opinion and take all the arguments raised into consideration. In this case, I believe the arguments raised weighed less than the bill. This is a good law that will work to the benefit of employees,” Orbán told the press.
He said earlier the legislation aims to support mainly employees of SMEs who wish to work more but can’t, at present, because of “silly bureaucratic hurdles”.
Fidesz group leader Máté Kocsis slammed “Jobbik’s hooligans and Liberal anarchists” for their “aggressive attitude” and insisted that the developments “cannot be left without consequences”.
The co-ruling Christian Democrats (KDNP) said that the session had been “shameful” and insisted that “a politically weak opposition tried to prevent parliament’s work through physical force”. The opposition “does not believe in political debate or culture… but in aggressive behaviour and anarchy,” they added.
Hungary is in the midst of a labour shortage which is severe in some sectors.
MTI Photo: Illyés Tibor