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Hungarian Employees at the Centenary Jubilee Conference of the ILO

Dear Director, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honour for me to represent the Hungarian employees at this centenary jubilee conference of the ILO. It is also a great pleasure for me to greet the conference participants on their behalf.

One of the main tasks of this conference is to create regulations on decent employment conditions for domestic workers. We think it is an issue of high importance, and welcome the efforts to finally regulate this area, as domestic workers are, due to the nature of their employment, one of the most vulnerable employees’ groups, which cannot be left unprotected.  We would be delighted if an agreement could be reached and recommendations made. The issue is especially relevant for us, as a new law on certain aspects of domestic work has recently been adopted in Hungary. It does not, however, represent progress for the employees concerned, since the law legalised only the income from domestic work, but the workers are not covered by any labour law, health and safety or social security regulation. We trust that the agreement to be accepted will also be ratified by Hungary as an EU Member State, and its principles will be integrated into our national regulations.

Having mentioned the Hungarian situation in the field of domestic work, I must also tell you that in the past year several amendments to laws and government measures have been introduced and several are still being introduced, which restrict the rights of employees and trade unions. We are unfortunately forced to use this forum to bring up our grievances as the government does not operate the institution of social dialogue. Although a system of tripartite interest reconciliation has been developed in Hungary over the past 20 years, whose activities have also been acknowledged by the ILO, the government is in the process of eliminating this system at this very moment.

It is well-known for all of us that tripartism is one of the ILO’s basic principles, not only imbuing the organisation’s way of operation, but also encouraging its member states to operate tripartite systems in order to strengthen social dialogue. Tripartism, as well as the ratification of and compliance with the ILO Conventions No. 87 and No. 98 to ensure the right to organise and the freedom of association, are guarantees of social peace.  These basic values suffer in Hungary: the law on eliminating the tripartite interest reconciliation forum will soon be adopted, and the right to strike has already been significantly limited at companies providing basic public services. These measures are unacceptable also because their adoption was not preceded by any negotiations with either professional or social partners, and the Hungarian Parliament has adopted the majority of measures affecting workers on the basis of proposals submitted by individual MPs. All this is against the ethos of the ILO and the achievements of the social market economy built up in Hungary, and it threatens social peace.   

Dear Director, Ladies and Gentleman, on behalf of the Hungarian employees I would like to thank you for your attention.

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