Edited By Heather Connolly, Lefteris Kretsos and Craig Phelan
Hungarian Unions: Toward Assuming Political Roles
It is gratifying to write about the trade unions in a country which, at the time of writing this paper (January 2012), makes the international front pages on a daily basis because of its economic failure and its government’s anti-democratic actions. This chapter reports that civil movements have emerged and have been vocal in expressing the overall dissatisfaction with the regime, and in this process the role of radical trade unions is quite significant. Apart from impressive street demonstrations, however, little is known about the social background and driving force of these movements. In addition to providing a chronology of events, the main goal of this paper is to explore these issues.
The chapter does not describe in detail the road to the current crisis and the measures taken by the government. Here we make an inventory only of the less known actions directly affecting the world of work. Writing a chapter such as this is not an easy task because of the constantly changing international environment and domestic political situation, both of which inevitably renders what is written outdated by the time it goes to print. Conclusions about the future role of traditional trade unions and radical union movements are necessarily tentative since we cannot know how much the new labour legislation will paralyse trade unions and institutions of collective representation. With the shrinking potential of traditional trade union functions, radical unions increasingly tend to express political goals, and their future is...
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