Hungary austerity package protest

Several thousand labour union members have staged a protest in Budapest against a government austerity package that they say requires a disproportionate sacrifice from workers.

    Six national unions organised the protest on Saturday

    Six national unions organised the protest on Saturday, two days before parliament was set to approve tax rises that are a key element of the plan of Ferenc Gyurcsany, the Hungarian prime minister, to cut down on a soaring public deficit threatening economic stability.

    More than 12,000 public sector employees are expected to lose their jobs as part of the austerity package which Gyurcsany has said will save the state $1.6 billion this year.

    Disillusioned unions, several of which supported the socialist  prime minister's re-election in April, said the government wants to raise revenue by taking money away from those who have the least. Others protested against mass layoffs.

    Tax hikes

    Parliament is set on Monday to approve a range of tax increases, including a new 20% tax on interest, the raising of a simplified entrepreneurial tax from 15% to 25%, and a new "solidarity tax" of 4% on profitable companies.

    Union leaders also pointed to a rise in value-added taxes, the cut in gas price subsidies, and massive layoffs in the public sector as particularly hurting workers.
      
    The government measures are aimed at cutting the deficit, currently the highest in the European Union at an expected 8% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, and keeping Hungary on track to adopt the euro as its currency by 2010.

    Hungary must reduce its public deficit to below 3% of GDP by 2008, two years before the planned adoption of the euro.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    'Money can't buy us': Mapping Canada's oil pipeline battle

    We travel more than 2,000km and visit communities along the route of the oil pipeline that cuts across Indigenous land.

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women under ISIL: The wives

    Women married to ISIL fighters share accounts of being made to watch executions and strap explosives to other women.

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    Diplomats for sale: How an ambassadorship was bought and lost

    The story of Ali Reza Monfared, the Iranian who tried to buy diplomatic immunity after embezzling millions of dollars.