Orban’s Slavery Act proves EPP ignore human rights

13/12/2018

Viktor Orban in the Hungarian Parliament

Credit: MSZP

The PES denounces the latest violations of workers’ rights and human rights in Hungary. Viktor Orban’s ‘Slavery Act’ is the latest sign the country is sliding towards authoritarianism.

The vote this week to undermine workers’ rights is the most recent in a long line of scandals in Hungary since Fidesz, a member party of the EPP, retook power in 2010. The Overtime Act - dubbed the Slavery Act – significantly raises the maximum overtime employees can be expected to work, and allows employers to withhold payment for this overtime for up to three years.

The change – which will come into effect as of 1 January 2019 - is opposed by 83% of workers according to research by Policy Agenda.

On Wednesday, breaking parliamentary protocol and with Orban’s henchmen in to the Plenary Room, Fidesz forced the legislation through the Hungarian Parliament in the face of protests from PES member MSZP and other opposition parties.

President of the PES Sergei Stanishev said:

“What we are seeing in Hungary is yet another worrying sign that Orban does not care at all about Hungarians. After xenophobic, anti-Semitic and anti-European rhetoric, and having worked to destroy the independence of the media and judiciary, Orban is now attacking workers.

“The ‘Slavery Act’ leaves employees vulnerable. If Manfred Weber wants to build bridges with Orban, this only shows that the EPP is on the same page with its Hungarian member party in totally ignoring the rights of the workers, the everyday people. 

“We stand in solidarity with our sister party MSZP, the trade unions, and the overwhelming majority of workers in opposition to this attack on fundamental rights. We will defend rights wherever they are under threat - the PES is committed to the highest standards for workers everywhere in Europe.”