16/03/2022 23:08

Kunhalmi: The Teacher's Strike is Legitimate!

Kunhalmi: The Teacher's Strike is Legitimate!
MSZP co-president Ágnes Kunhalmi called the teachers' strike legitimate on ATV on Tuesday.

She called on opposition voters not to be discouraged and announced that she would report Viktor Orbán for spreading fear-mongering by spreading fake news.

He told opposition voters: "Don't let yourselves be discouraged by the idea that 'my God, everything is set in concrete here, you can't move an inch from Fidesz anymore.' No, please: it's better to solve things with 50% that are insanely hard in this country than to watch our nation being destroyed from the sidelines for 12 years."

On the teachers' strike, she said it was all legal; all professions have the right to strike, whether in the market or the public sector; this is a very serious achievement of Hungarian employees.

"Parents and teachers should not let themselves be intimidated when more than 10,000 teachers are missing from the system." Despite the government's suggestion that the strike will result in dismissals, "you can't sack" teachers, she said on the TV's morning programme called 'Start.'

As she said the Orbán government had made "an awful lot of cuts" in health, education, social services and pensions over the past 10 years, and "it is really hard to comprehend with common sense" why it had withdrawn the measure to adjust the basis for the projection of teachers' salaries to the minimum wage.

"It took an awful lot of money away from teachers", she added.

She stressed that while the Medgyessy government had implemented a 50% general wage increase, which should have been continued, the Orbán government's 10% teacher's allowance is no more than a wage supplement, as it is not included in the salary and does not constitute a pension base.

"A massive pay rise is needed immediately," she said. In response to a question, she said that in the first two years of the new government, this must be done by all means, and as Péter Márki-Zay, the joint opposition candidate for prime minister, said at the United for Hungary programme presentation: 50% will not even be enough.

But this must be done not only in education, but also for health professionals, the social sector and the law enforcement sector. "We will find the money for this," she promised.

As she pointed out, the most important task of the new democratic government under Márki-Zay would be to guarantee peace together with NATO and to save Hungarian society from the negative economic impacts of war.

"In three weeks, I hope that there will be a change of government in this country; and I hope that the 52.6% who voted against Fidesz four years ago will stand up again. (...) Now we are united," she said of the opposition.

"For this we need the wage increase, for this we need the gradual increase in pensions and the retention of the 13th month pension; for this we need not only the retention of the reduction in overheads, but also the return of renovation programme of the the Kádár cubes and the flat buildings; for this we need the tax exemption of the minimum wage, for this we need the VAT reduction on basic foodstuffs, for this we need the resolution of the housing crisis," she said.

Reflecting on the news that the European Union will pay Hungary the EU funds withheld so far, regardless of who wins the elections, she said, "We will definitely use this money to finance the people, and Fidesz will finance its oligarchs." She stressed that under the leadership of Márki-Zay's government, Hungary should immediately join the European Public Prosecutor's Office and set up its own anti-corruption prosecutor's office.

She accused Viktor Orbán of spreading rumours that the opposition wants to plunge the country into war, even though the opposition voted in Parliament for a resolution on peace and security, according to which Hungary would help refugees and Hungarians in Transcarpathia, would not allow weapons and soldiers to the Ukrainian border and would not allow weapons to be transported through its territory.

In fact, it was the ruling party MPs who not even show up at the extraordinary session called by the opposition on the Russian-Ukrainian war, she pointed out.

"According to their own rules, what the prime minister says is a lie," Kunhalmi said, adding that the prime minister should therefore be reported "according to their own rules". Asked about this, she said he would do so.

"The opportunity is there to decide on 3 April. Do not hesitate, vote," she urged opposition voters.