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Chamber of Commerce President Should Resign for Comments on Teachers, Says Teacher Union

The Democratic Union of Teachers (PDSZ) is taking all legal steps to enforce the right for Hungary’s schoolteachers to strike, even the possibility of taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights, the trade union told news agency MTI on Saturday.

PDSZ stated that at its recently-held two-day 26th Congress, it decided that it would continue to insist on legal proceedings, negotiations, and the strike process so that their strike demands are met and their right to strike is guaranteed. They also elected their board of directors and supervisory board.

Participants at the Congress rejected László Parragh’s statement that unions had drawn educators into a political debate. Parragh, the president of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK), is trying to divert attention from serious social problems by attacking teachers, said PDSZ.

The PDSZ Congress recommended, agreeing with the Independent Trade Union of Professional Firefighters, that László Parragh apologize to them and leave public life without severance pay.

The MKIK President recently sparked a furor after the publication of an interview with Népszava, in which he said that “the government’s job is to balance different societal groups, although if the cake is the same size, then one group can only get a bigger slice at the expense of another.”

But he also said that salary was not everything, as there are other motivating factors as well:

Teachers have the summers off, and can go home at 4:00pm. It is different for each profession. A firefighter can be motivated by social esteem and a rush of adrenaline.

-Parragh said, adding, “Of course, the cash register rings the same for everyone.”

In October, it was reported that Hungarian teachers have to work until they are 61 years old to reach the country’s average salary of 440,000 Ft. (US $1,198) per month. [Magyar Hang]

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