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Government pays hundreds of millions to trade unions for “partnership”
On 22 February 2012, an agreement was signed about the establishment of the Standing Consultative Forum for the Private Sector and the Government (VKF). Besides the government, the members are those organizations for employers’ and employees’ interests that obtained 600 million HUF from the government in order to undertake tasks for the VKF and also to strengthen co-operation with it. Furthermore, the government paid 300 million HUF to other, similar organizations for taking part in the work of the National Public Service Interest Reconciliation Council.
On 22 February 2012, an agreement was signed about the establishment of the Standing Consultative Forum for the Private Sector and the Government (VKF). “In 2012 too, one of the most important tasks of the government is the raising of employment rates. The consultative forum between the government and the national organizations for employers’ and employees’ interests in the private sector aims to help with this.” – said Sándor Czomba, Secretary of State for Employment Policy, at the ceremony to sign the agreement.
The members of the VKF are the Government, the Democratic League of Independent Trade Unions (LIGA Trade Unions), the National Association of Hungarian Trade Unions (MSzOsz), the National Federation of Workers’ Councils, the Hungarian National Federation of Consumer Co-operative Societies and Trade Associations (ÁFEOSZ-Coop Szövetség, KÉSZ), the Confederation of Hungarian Employers and Industrialists (MGYOSZ), and the National Association of Entrepreneurs and Employers (VOSZ).
The signed agreement includes the standing orders as well, which in short are the following:
The main consultative forum of the VKF is the board meeting. Board meetings are held as needed or at least once every six months. Board meetings are not public.
The board’s work is helped by the Monitoring Committee and other ad hoc technical committees charged with specific tasks. The Monitoring Committee’s head convenes meetings as needed, or at least every two months. The Monitoring Committee must be convened upon the initiation of at least four of its members.
The tenth item of the agreement is about finances:
“The Government may provide financial resources for the operation and activities of the forum to the trade unions and employers’ organizations that are part of the VKF for conducting studies and statistical surveys, organizing informative programs, as well as to the experts taking part effectively in the work of the Monitoring Committee or the ad hoc committees.”
In a reply given by the Prime Minister’s Office to a freedom of information request submitted through KiMitTud (Atlatszo.hu’s public FOI service), it turns out that between 2012-2013 the government did use this opportunity to provide resources: it paid the organizations 600 million HUF altogether.
The Prime Minister’s Office paid an additional 300 million HUF for contributing to the activities of the National Public Service Interest Reconciliation Council. The LIGA Trade Unions got an extra 100 million HUF, the Forum for the Co-operation of Trade Unions also got 100 million, the Confederation of Unions of Professionals was given 50 million HUF, while both the National Federation of Workers’ Councils and MSZOSZ were paid an extra 25 million HUF each.
Translation by Orsolya Gulyás
Read the article in Hungarian here.