State television continues to ban all opposition MPs — Hungary moves towards national strike

Thirteen opposition Members of the Hungarian Parliament spent all night camping out at the headquarters of Hungary’s public broadcasting authority, with the taxpayer-funded television steadfast in its refusal to afford anyone except Fidesz-KDNP politicians air time.  MP László Varjú ended up in hospital early this morning and his body is full of bruises from a physical altercation with security personnel at the television station who ejected him by force from the public building. The physical attack against 57 year old Mr. Varjú horrified his opposition colleagues in parliament. In protest, opposition MPs decided to lay down on their stomachs, with their hands behind their heads, on the floor of MTVA headquarters. These scenes are absolutely unprecedented in the history of post-1990 Hungary.

Opposition MPs on the floor in the headquarters of Hungarian State Television.

As is standard to the world’s other banana republic dictatorships, Hungarian state television’s only excuse for not allowing opposition MP’s to air grievances about the contentious overtime law, and for forcefully having them ejected from the premises, is that nobody seems to have any authority to do give them air time, and the one person who does–Dániel Papp–is conveniently missing in action.

On Monday afternoon, for the fifth time in one week, thousands of Hungarians took to the streets to protest. Like on Sunday, most congregated outside the public broadcaster in Óbuda. Meanwhile Monday evening, Fidesz propaganda conglomerate Mediaworks, headquartered on Bécsi út, was reportedly concerned about action by demonstrators against their building. On Monday night, activists affiliated with Momentum  marched towards the headquarters of the ruling party’s news channel, HírTV. Riot police showed up by the time they arrived.

The outrageous overtime law, mostly known by people outside Fidesz as the slave law, has accomplished what nothing else has in nearly nine years: the entire opposition, and thousands of young Hungarians who thus far have steered clear of opposition parties, is united as one. Talk of whether DK and MSZP ought to cooperate with Jobbik, or whether young Hungarians or Momentum are willing to be seen as cooperating with Ferenc Gyurcsány all seem like completely esoteric subjects that nobody has the luxury to debate.

In a related development, Hungary’s major labour unions have announced that they are planning for nationwide strike action on Friday, if MTVA continues to strip the opposition MPs of airtime. László Kordás, representing the Hungarian Alliance of Labour Unions, confirmed that workers would begin strike action by blocking roads and entrances to major industrial complexes in Hungary. The goal is to obstruct the work of all major corporations that plan to take advantage of the new laws allowing for 400 hours of overtime work. Mr. Kordás confirmed that they are prepared to escalate the situation in the direction of a national strike.

One hopes that Europeans and North Americans who still think that it is at all appropriate to engage in dialogue with the representatives of the Orbán regime will think again after the most recent developments in Hungary. If nothing else, the photograph of opposition MPs lying on the floor and news of one being brutally assaulted, should be enough to dissuade them.

35 Comments

  1. All European MPs should watch these scenes.
    This is what awaits them too, if we don’t stop the fascists now.

    https://444.hu/2018/12/17/eloben-kozvetitettek-ahogy-kidobjak-hadhazyt-es-szelt-a-kozmediabol

  2. If Hungary’s opposition parties would also learn how to organize their constituents on a nation wide basis, they would not have to lay down on their stomachs but stand firmly at the head of the protesting masses.

    Having said that, it is true: Viktor Orbán’s Mafia State is an international disgrace. It has been treated with kid gloves by the European Union and by the likes of Donald Trump, who is grateful to Orbán for the work he did alongside Vladimir’s troll farms, to propel him into the White House. Orbán is the darling of the human meat grinder in Saudi Arabia, a hero of the Ku Klux Klan, of Steve Bannon and all of the white supremacist neo-Fascists of Europe. He has delivered Hungary’s workers to the German Automobile industry, gagged, tied and emasculated.

    The EU has poured billions of subsidies into the pockets of this anti-democratic rogue regime, that is a Trojan Horse of Russia, and is dedicated to the destruction of values that the EU has sworn to uphold. Trump has thrown the exploited people of this country under a bus, and sent his old buddy Cornstein to Budapest (a buddy of Arthur Finkelstein and Roy Cohn as well) to serve as his Ambassador and open up the lucrative back channel to Vladimir, that his son-in-law, crooked Jarred Kushner, has not been able to engineer up to now.

    If Hungarians succeed in overthrowing the autocrat that robbed them of their rights, they should also send Mr. Cornstein packing.

  3. OBSERVER;

    That is sure “resisting arrest with force”, that is an absolute ‘felony 3’ !!!!!

    • Bende
      It surely wasn’t. Pls familiarize yourself with the categories of non-cooperation or passive resistance.

      The issue here is the lawlessness and arbitrary rule of the orban regime: eg.
      – the MTV senior manager on duty is supposed to meet the MPs and respond to their request (as am accountable public institution).
      – No sec guard has the right to interfere with, let alone manhandle an MP in his/her work eg. entering a public institution for negotiations (ie. the guards and their employer committed a felony).
      – The police is supposed to enable/clear the instructions to MPs work, eg. entrance and safe conduct.
      – The “slave law” /bill was tabled without the studies or consultations reqired (already a Fid practice).
      – The parliamentary session agenda was adopted at a committee meeting called by SMS sent FIVE minutes before the start (most probably making it illegal).
      – The obstructive (but legal) amendments of the opposition were dismissed in a single bulk vote (illegal).
      – The oppositions MPs on the floor were cut short or denied
      – The parliament session was conducted illegally as the speaker was at the chair (formal requirement, regardless of the eventual obstruction).
      Etc, etc.
      The fascist regime is on the offensive wiping up the last vestiges of democracy and doesn’t care much about fig leaves.

  4. Exposing the first lies by the Orbàn minions eg. MPs were aggressive… they attacked … disrupted the broadcast… intimidated emolyees…etc
    In Hungarian :
    https://www.facebook.com/szelbernadett/videos/2258809004365239/

  5. When was the original ‘slave law’ (250hours overtime/ paid after one year) introduced and who by?

  6. What purpose does it serve to refer to Orbán as a Trojan horse of Russia? I don’t see how Russia, or Vladimir Putin, have anything to do with the appalling behavior of Fidesz.

  7. Everybody talk about the automotive company taking advantage from this law. What about public workers like doctors or drivers in public transpor? I believe this law is made to soffucate their rebellion. Do you remember the doctor strike in the military hospital in Budapest? Has been enough to force the government to make a law about increasing salaries (well deserved!) ….. but still there are not enough doctors. Can you imagine what chaos could creat a strike from all Hungarian hospital‘s doctors, or a block on transport? That would be a message to reach all Hungarians!

  8. StrandedinSopron says:

    It is a rogue regime which is now showing its true face- downright thuggery is being employed by the Orbanist State against those who simply want to exercise their right of free speech on “public” (ie paid for by your and my taxes) media.

    Orban and his dictatorship is corrupt and actually immoral to its core and it is to the EU’s eternal shame that they have continued to subsidise its existence.

  9. I think you are dangerously drifting into full echo chamber mode here Adam.

    Just look back at the things you wrote.

    “The outrageous overtime law, mostly known by people outside Fidesz as the slave law, ” Really now?

    So what exactly is so “outrageous” about it? The fact that the limit was raised to 400 hours/year? Does Canada have a limit or its Provinces? Because I know cases where people work 60 hour weeks in Canada, all year long. If Hungary’s is really “slave law” then what can we say about Canada or the US? Do you live in a slave state then? Do you think you are being reasonable?

    This is just an example of how you are filtering info into a reality that is completely separated from the world, but your article is full of such distortions, lies, like calling Hungary a “dictatorship”.

    Got news for you, there is already an Eva Balogh. Do you really think creating a second air-tight echo chamber will benefit anyone?

  10. StrandedinSopron says:

    “Because I know cases where people work 60 hour weeks in Canada, all year long.”

    I work over the Xmas period, my choice and I will get paid, latest at the end of next month

    And when do they get paid for that overtime in Canada Joe?
    After three years?

    That is one of the main planks of the Slave Law. An employer can demand 400 hours of overtime but not make the payment until three years later? Do you think that is just?

    • Hungarian Free Press says:

      StrandedinSopron,

      Joe, blinded as he is by his ideological mania, is relying on a factually false comparison with Canada. The Employment Standards Act in Ontario, the most populous province, requires employers to pay time and a half for more than 44 hours per week. Reimbursement can be payed out through regular payroll or by paid time off from work. But what employers cannot do, and this is what the Hungarian law allows for, is to delay the payment of overtime hours worked for years.

      • Yes, I agree that delay provision in law is seemingly ridiculous, although I personally never heard of anyone having their overtime pay delayed, within the current one year provision. In the end, I think it still depends on employees/employers agreeing to terms, just like in most other places. I could see where delay payment provision may actually be something that employees would want to opt for, due to income tax considerations, or expectation of lower income in coming years and so on. It is similar to banking hours worked, which I myself have done in the past, which is like delayed payment, which BTW employers can do in Canada as well.

        https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/tools/hours/overtime_tutorial.php

        When looking at it this way, it becomes less sinister, and in fact one can argue that it may offer employees more flexibility.

        But the original reference I made to Canada was in regards to there being no cap on overtime hours, while in Hungary there is, therefore in this regard Hungary is arguably better. I know plenty of people who work 60 hour weeks in Canada or US, which works out to over 1,000 hours of overtime per year. Which aspect of any of this is “factually false”?

        Furthermore, I know plenty of salaried people who also put in 60 hrs/week or more and get no pay for that extra 20 hours/week that they put in. That is far worse than delayed payment.

        I am blinded by my “ideological mania”? More like you are creating an alternate reality, to fit your own mania!

        • “I know plenty of people who work 60 hour weeks in Canada or US, which works out to over 1,000 hours of overtime per year. Which aspect of any of this is “factually false”?”

          As usual, there are one or more logical flaws and/or false premises in Joe’s arguments.

          Yes, salaried worker often put in a lot of overtime.

          1) This law applies to non-salaried workers. Their concerns, options, and reward structure are not the same as salaried workers.
          2) It was understood when I took my job as a salaried worker that I would be working overtime. I was not forced to sign my contract.
          3) Salaried workers compensation is typically much better than non-salaried. In a sense, the overtime pay is already built into the salary.
          4) Some of that compensation for salaried workers comes from job satisfaction. Such as a University prof. who works lots of overtime hours, but is doing something they have a passion for. There are non-salaried jobs that have this, but many are repetitive and boring.
          5) Compared to non-salaried there are better compensation packages for salaried workers: better pensions, more vacation time, bigger bonuses, stock options, childcare, better health insurance, per diem for food/lodging when traveling for work, payed working lubches and dinners, etc. Compensation doesn’t come just in the form of overtime pay, but it’s there.
          6) As a professional I have more opportunities to shop around for a good salaried job. Not something a factory worker typically has an option to do. Either because the jobs do not exist or they have less mobility to move to where the jobs are.
          7) Salaried jobs do not typically include tasks that are dangerous or have a cumulative effect of harming the body. Forcing a construction worker in their 40’s or 50’s to work 400 extra hours might be what “breaks their back”.
          8) Salaried workers typically have more opportunities for advancement within their workplace. And the top of the ladder is also much higher. If you work on a factory floor you might make floor manager some day, but you are very unlikely to make it to middle management or higher.
          9) Let’s say for arguements sake that things suck for salaried workers (compared to non-salaried I don’t think it does). This is not an arguement to make things worse for non-salaried workers.

          • I was referring to both salaried and hourly paid. You evidently do not know much about the real world, so you think only salaried people work long hours.

            And you are also way off on the salaried workers. Most are not academics, and most are not paid as much as you think, nor is their work self-fulfilling, yet they often put in lots of overtime with no extra pay. I know of cases where they get $40,000 salary, doing crappy, tedious, stressful office work and are expected to work 60 hours/week. on an hourly pay equivalent, someone working for about $12/hour can get same pay for similar hours worked.

            Most out of touch character on this forum, hands down! You are proving it every time you write.

  11. I am not making bets, but I’ve the strong feeling this will also turn out to negatively for those few heroic members of the House who were unwilling and unable to bring about some realistic changes to the bill.
    At least the very belated payments of the overtime work.

    But I just can not see how can this be acceptable under the law as long as hungarian workers have the right of free bargaining???

    The most interesting and the real issue if the case is that the workers and their representative, that is the Union’ s lawyers are silent and found no place.

    Some will likely allege that Orban must have paid them off , or sent them all to Siberia or prisons.

  12. Pingback: Frankreich und Ungarn | Das grosse Thier

  13. @ Kamilla

    “What purpose does it serve to refer to Orbán as a Trojan horse of Russia?”

    Educational purpose Kamilla.

  14. @ Bendygoose

    Would it be asking too much of you to think before you spill your ignorance into this space, or at least try to follow the rules of the English language when you develop the urge to express yourself ? Your performance here is as pathetic as that of a goose trying to fly when its feathers are covered in bunker-oil. If you want to be taken seriously learn to express yourself intelligently and in a comprehensible manner. If you are incapable of doing that then just bugger off or find yourself a new name – wingnut would be appropriate.

  15. @ Joe

    ” I personally never heard of anyone having their overtime pay delayed, within the current one year provision.”

    How could you have Joe, when you are deaf to reality ? Maybe its time to get yourself a hearing aid and give your goose a shampoo bath :-).

  16. StrandedinSopron says:

    Joe,

    “Yes, I agree that delay provision in law is seemingly ridiculous, although I personally never heard of anyone having their overtime pay delayed, within the current one year provision. ”

    So, why increase it to three years?

    Three reasons:

    1. The multis are having major issues keeping their workers having trained them (the flow of Hungarian economic well-trained migrants to the west is not decreasing. Witholding what will be a lot of money for three years is one way to blackmail them to stay.
    2. Those working in the public sector (who I believe will also be covered) are under extreme pressure, especially in education and health. For budgetary reasons, the government doesn’t want to pay their overtime-pushing it down the road three years (from their point of view) removes that issue.
    3. Small businesses (the owners of which are overwhelmingly supporters of Orban) are presently under extreme financial pressure. For the same reason that they never extend the probation period beyond three months to their trainees, there is not a chance in hell they will pay that overtime ever, never mind in three years.

    It is unjust, simple as that

    • “So, why increase it to three years?”

      I can think of plenty of segments of the workforce which could benefit. Mining & Construction for instance.

      Imagine a Hungarian construction company that gets a 3 year contract working on the nuclear power plant project. Ordinarily employees may have uneven hours, averaging perhaps under 40 hours/week. Now all the sudden they have big project, plenty of hours, with everyone working maximum overtime allowed. Plenty of employees might want to bank the overtime and have it paid as 3 year limit on it approaches. This way they can have income security essentially for 6 years, instead of the 3 that the project is to last.

      Adam calls it “slave law” parroting the propaganda, but there are about 3 million people working in Canada in mining or construction (the backbone of Canada’s economy), which would mostly welcome this law (minus the 400 ot limit). Anyone who ever worked in either of these industries would understand that, but evidently not many people on this forum.

      • „Adam calls it “slave law”“ Adam was the caller? But this is not korrekt Joe. Your perception seems to be clearly limited.

        Employer asks the employee, would you like to work Saturday? No not at all. You misunderstood me, do you want to work Monday?

  17. StrandedinSopron says:

    “Plenty of employees might want to bank the overtime and have it paid as 3 year limit on it approaches.”

    But that should be their choice not the employers.

    • My understanding is that it is in fact all between employer/employee. There is nothing in that law stipulating that employers can force this on anyone. They cannot force people to do overtime by law, and they cannot force employees to agree to do overtime and not get paid right away.

      • „They cannot force people to do overtime by law, and they cannot force employees to agree to do overtime and not get paid right away.“ In Hungary there is hire and fire, do you catch that Joe. Then it is very easy to force people, or not?

        And Joe, if you write “My understanding” then it has to be far from the truth.„They cannot force people to do overtime by law, and they cannot force employees to agree to do overtime and not get paid right away.“ In Hungary there is hire and fire, do you catch that Joe. Then it is very easy to force people, or not?

        And Joe if you wright “My understanding” than it must be far a way from the truth. And it is … did you know that the extension of working hours is one law and that later pay is a separate law?

  18. StrandedinSopron says:

    Outside Budapest, in most towns where there are few alternative forms of employment, workers are at the mercy of their employers- they won’t be able to say “no”.

    • And please do tell, where on this planet is it any different? Employers tend to have the upper hand most of the time, except when labor availability is scarce. But then, when it is not scarce, they are not as interested in pushing people to work overtime. Point is that the law does not force people to accept overtime, which is one of the false perceptions that this site as well as Hungarian opposition are continuing to spread.

      Do you think that a worker in Fort Mc Murray, Canada can tell his/her employer; “listen, I only intend to do 40 hrs/week from now on!”? And unlike Hungary, where it is capped to 400 hrs/year, in Canada there is no such cap. Most people in the oil sands extraction field work 70 hour weeks. That is about 1,500 hrs/year of overtime.

      • Joe: “There is nothing in that law stipulating that employers can force this on anyone.” Can not force?

        SS: “Outside Budapest, in most towns where there are few alternative forms of employment, workers are at the mercy of their employers- they won’t be able to say “no”.”

        Joe: “And please do tell, where on this planet is it any different?” – Can force but it is everywhere same?

        Joe the stupid crap that you tap is worthy of Fidesz.

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