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Thousands protest against government move to strip teachers of public servant status in Hungary

Nearly 5,000 teachers already declared that they would leave the profession if Viktor Orban’s government implemented the reforms which would take away some job security.

The protest on Wednesday came after a year’s worth of teacher strikes, and demonstrations calling for higher salaries. Hungary’s inflation – which is above 25% – has eroded teachers’ wages that are below the national median and second last among OECD nations according to data from 2021.

The draft is often referred to as “Revenge Law” by critics, who see it as punishment for the teachers’ long-standing resistance.

Katalin Torley is one of Orban’s most vocal critics. She said, “I am completely against this law. It’s not called’revenge laws’ by mistake in the public discourse.”


It is a reaction to the protests that have taken place over the last year…which exposed the dire issues of the public educational system.”

The new legislation, according to the government, aims to improve education quality.


In an earlier version of the draft it was proposed that teacher communication and behaviour would be monitored using technical means. The government has promised to remove this provision and others minor ones from the draft. However, the negotiations between the government and the teachers’ unions are still in progress.

If the current law is passed, teachers will be able to work up to 12 hours per day, 40 hours per week, and 80 hours per annum if they wish to substitute.

The low salaries and unpredictability of the regulatory environment are the main reasons for the shortage in Hungary.

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