Index - Domestic - Tick bomb in one of the largest employers in the country

From 1 January 2022, the minimum wage increased to HUF 200,000 gross, and the guaranteed minimum wage increased to HUF 260,000. At the beginning of the new year, the Railway Unions belonging to the MÁV-Volán Group and the Road Transport Trade Union warned immediately that the problem of wage congestion associated with the increase had to be addressed.

The two unions asked for urgent help in a letter to the Minister without Portfolio for the Management of National Assets, Andrea Mager, and Secretary of State János Fónagy.

The wage congestion is caused by the fact that the minimum wage of HUF 200,000 overwrites the agreement on a 10 percent increase concluded with the company group in 2021 to such an extent that, in their opinion, it could lead to the collapse of the wage system.

János Meleg, the president of the Railwaymen’s Trade Union, illustrated the situation with two examples:

A new employee can start working for HUF 260,000 gross, while a colleague who has been working here for 10-15 years will receive HUF 26,000 more than the basic salary increase. In the case of jobs, this looks like an increase in the base salary of a shift manager to HUF 260,000, but a traffic service provider who works in a more frequent job with a higher education will receive a lower 10 percent pay increase, so the amount of the two benefits will converge.

The two unions fear that wage congestion threatens to collapse the wage system that has developed over many years and could even lead to the emigration of workers.

János Meleg explained to our newspaper that their proposal is to use the savings resulting from the reduction of employer contributions for wage compensation. The Railway Union is thinking of a banded concept:

Those who are at HUF 260,000 and receive an increase of HUF 26,000 due to the 10 percent increase should add an additional HUF 14,000 to their salary. In the higher payment bands, less compensation would be needed, up to the level of HUF 400,000.

According to János Meleg, one of the largest employers in the country with about 57,000 employees, the MÁV-Volán Group has billions in wage growth, otherwise the union knows that there may be roughly 4,800 people on the guaranteed minimum wage.

In the joint statement, the Road Transport Union drew attention to the critical situation in the bus and coach sector, which, as they say,

For some time now, there has been a lot of competition for the Volánbusz employees, which have been integrated into the MÁV Group, between the capital and several cities with county status, in which, according to the news, wage growth of even more than 10 percent is expected. This can be a promising offer for the drivers of the Volanbus, who may be underpaid. The exodus of bus drivers in the hope of more money would clearly jeopardize the safe operation of the Wagon Bus.

In the case, we sought questions from Andrea Mager, the Minister without Portfolio for the Management of National Assets, and MÁV.

Negotiations begin

MÁV’s announcement on Wednesday revealed:

With the approval of the owner-practitioner, the savings resulting from the reduction of the employer’s contribution burden will be used by the MÁV-Volán Group to deal with wage congestion due to the increase in wage minimums.

The employer ‘s proposal to address wage congestion, based on available resources, will be discussed by the employer with interest groups in the coming weeks in group – level conciliation negotiations.

(Cover image: Csaba Jászai / MTI)

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