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Hungary protesters march against labour reform

PTI budapest
Updated: 06-01-2019 00:38 IST

Budapest, Jan 5 (AFP) Around 6,000 people on Saturday demonstrated against nationalist-conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the latest of a wave of Hungarian protests targeting a labour reform branded a "slave law" by the opposition.

Turnout was well below expectations of the march's opposition party and union organisers'. They had hoped to mobilise tens of thousands to revive the protests after the festive season.

The reform, adopted by parliament on December 12, has increased the amount of overtime that employers can demand from 250 to 400 hours per year and allows payment to be delayed by up to three years.

The government says the law is needed to tackle Hungary's labour shortage and will enable those who wish to work more hours to earn more.

Hungarian President Janos Ader signed the reform into law just before Christmas, despite more than 10 days of sometimes violent clashes between demonstrators and police in the capital and other cities.

In the biggest demonstration of the current series, some 15,000 people gathered on 16 December in central Budapest.

The opposition is also calling for another recent reform to be scrapped that could threaten the independence of judges. And it is demanding greater freedom for public media, which the opposition accuses of acting as a government mouthpiece.

The protests have succeeded in uniting all shades of the normally fractious opposition, with unions also throwing their weight behind the movement and threatening to organise a general strike unless the law is scrapped.

Since he was re-elected for a third term last April, Orban, an admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has according to his critics pursued reform policies aimed at creating an "illiberal democracy". (AFP) SCY


(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)