8 more Hungarian high school teachers fired for civil disobedience

November 30. 2022. – 03:47 PM


8 more Hungarian high school teachers fired for civil disobedience
Photo: János Bődey / Telex


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The Ministry of Interior announced through the state news agency, MTI that in accordance with the policy principle of the Ministry of Interior, the directors of the relevant school districts exercised their authority as employers when terminating the employment of eight teachers of three Budapest high schools, effective 1 December 2022.

According to the statement, the persons concerned had been previously informed by their employers that in case of their unlawful refusal to perform their work – teaching – for any reason, they would be considered to be in wilful and serious breach of the essential obligations arising from their status as public servants and this would provide a legal basis for their extraordinary dismissal.

The statement further says that the Ministry of Interior has repeatedly stressed that the interests of students come first. "The unlawful refusal of a teacher to work restricts the fulfillment of the pupil's obligation to attend school and the exercise of their right to education enshrined in Hungary’s Fundamental Law. Whatever their age, pupils go to school to learn, and unlawful behavior is not exemplary for them," the statement reads.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Interior, a further 24 teachers will be informed by the head of their institution on 30 November 2022 of the consequences of their unlawful refusal to work, according to a summary received by the ministry. The communique concludes:

“The Ministry states that its position is unwavering and that it has consistently acted and will continue to act against those who unlawfully refuse to work, as all employers do, and expects all bodies and organisations under its control to do the same.”

As Telex has reported in detail, September saw an unprecedented wave of solidarity for Hungarian teachers which was made even stronger when five teachers of Budapest's Kölcsey Ferenc High School were fired for their repeated involvement in civil disobedience.

Since then there have been several national strikes with teachers across the country organizing a united walkout: the most recent one was on 18 November. Teachers have long been fighting to reduce their workload and restore their right to strike. They have been in a more difficult position since the Strike Act was passed, because it prescribed that sufficient services must be provided even during a strike, which would make teachers' strikes invisible.

On top of this, workers in the sector want higher pay, but the government has long wanted to fund pay raises from the recovery fund connected to the agreement with the EU. Teachers' unions were finally able to hold talks with Zoltán Maruzsa, the State Secretary for Education on their demands in early November, but failed to achieve any substantive change.

The government will for sure not raise teachers' pay this year, and their latest offer is to increase salaries in stages over a three-year period. If the government reaches an agreement with the EU (which, according to the latest news, is less and less likely), teachers' salaries will be increased by 20.8 percent next year, 25 percent in 2024 and almost 30 percent in 2025 compared to the current base. This way, by 2025 teachers' salaries could be around 777,000 forints gross. Their salary could reach 80 percent of the average tertiary graduate salary in Hungary by January 2025.

This autumn, we spoke to the teachers who had been sacked from Kölcsey High School. They told us how they felt after they were forced to leave and why they chose civil disobedience. If you missed it before, you may watch our subtitled video here:

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