Implication des Syndicats dans le semestre européen
Trade Union Involvement in the EU Semester


European Semester Officer (ESO) in your country:

Liliana ZUGO
+36 1 209 97 76
+36 30 607 8850

National Reports

The minimum wage negotiation is going on by the end of each year, the social partners should agree on its increase at macro-level and after it a government resolution fixes the new minimum wages valid for the next year. In Hungary there are 2 types of minimum wages: one is for non-professional workers and the other - called 'guaranteed wage minimum' for professional workers. This latest is established in accordance with the level of education/vocational training required for a particular job or position.
According to the agreement reached in the Permanent Consultation Forum of the Competitive Sector and Government (VKF) in December 2013 the minimum wage for 2014 will be HUF 101500 (EUR 338) and the guaranteed wage minimum will be HUF 118000 (EUR 393) which are 3,6 and 3,5% more than in 2013.
The minimum wage and the guaranteed wage minimum earners represents near to 20% of employees (2013).

On December 6, 2013 three national level trade union confederations – MSZOSZ (National Confederation of Hungarian Trade Unions), Autonomous Trade Union Confederation (ASZSZ) and SZEF (Cooperation Forum of Trade Unions) after several months of preparation had the founding congress of their new, joint confederation, the Confederation of Hungarian Trade Unions (MSZSZ). The new confederation includes trade union federation from competitive and public sector as well. It represents 250000 active workers and around 100000 pensioners and is now the biggest trade union confederation in Hungary.

According to the Survey ’Top personal income rates are at their highest level since 2008. The overall tax burden on labour has increased, but Member States (BE, DK, FI, FR, HU, IT, NL, PT, SE) have decreased labour taxes for specific groups. There is a tendency to increase progressivity.’ Obviously the report does not treat the Hungarian case in a detailed way as – although it is true that overall tax burden has been decreased for specific groups – the progressivity did not increase at all. What is more, the implementation of the personal income flat tax (16%) in 2011 has meant the end of the progressivity.

The Survey mentions that ’The development of high-quality apprenticeships and dual vocational training is a priority in many countries (EL, ES, IT, LV, PT, SK)’ . The Survey does not mention among the countries implementing dual vocational training Hungary. Hungary– although no doubt that accompanied with lot of criticism – also has chosen this way.

- Flat rate of personal income tax: since 2011 Hungary has gradually introduced a 16 per cent flat rate of personal income tax. The trade union confederation MSZOSZ at its seventh congress in autumn 2010 emphasised that ‘single rate and proportional personal tax transforms incomes disproportionately and unfairly, making it more favourable for people on higher incomes at employees’ expense’. Plans of government to reduce the personal income tax – flat tax – from 16% to 15% - will contribute to a further increase of income differences, which is already very high in Hungary.
- The so called „public work scheme” (to reduce unemployment) is not only unefficient but it also maintain the wages under heavy pressure.
- Public sector wages are frozen since 2008. There are sporadic and insufficient attempts to increasre income in some areas (teachers, health sector) which were not sufficient to stop the serious labour force migration to other countries.
- Growing territorial wage gap – in 2014 the average (gross) wage in the North-Eastern region (150 000 HUF) was only a little more than a half of the salary in Budapest (270 000 HUF).
- Gap between the living minimum and net minimum wage: the living minimum is HUF 87510 (2013 data), the net minimum wage: HUF 75 327.
- Tax wedge: we agree with the Country Specific Recommendation that Hungary has a very high and increasing tax wedge on labour costs, particularly in the case of low wage earners: in 2008 it was 46.7 per cent and in 2013 it was already 48 per cent. The high tax wedge not only has a negative effect on net earnings and has hit low wage-earners particularly, but it also puts downward pressure on labour demand.
- As the practice of neglecting social dialogue continue, social dialogue (tripartite, with impact on bipartite) based wage setting further hampers the solution of the above mentioned problems.