Gulyás: Left-wing has not given up hope of preventing wage hikes

Gergely Gulyás said it is not only teachers who will receive a pay rise. Nurses’ wages will also rise by 20% from March 1, so the average wage of nurses will be 715,000 forints.

Gergely Gulyás, Head of the Prime Minister's Office, told a government press briefing that the debate on teachers’ wages shows that the Hungarian left-wing has not given up hope of preventing hikes to teachers’ salaries.

Gulyás said that in addition to the “well-known Hungarian-hater” foreign MEPs, Hungarians, including MEPs of Momentum, also spoke in the debate, arguing that it was unacceptable for Hungary to receive EU funds. Nevertheless, the left-wing failed to prevent the release of the EU funds “that can be spent on raising teacher’s wages”. Gulyás noted that teachers, kindergarten teachers and vocational training instructors will receive a 32.2% pay rise in February, and another 21% pay rise can be expected next year. The average wage of teachers will rise to more than 672,000 forints (EUR 1,765) this year, more than 812,000 forints next year and around 880,000 forints in 2026. He added that teachers’ wages can be doubled between 2022 and 2026. By Jan 30, every teacher will receive the document on their wage increase, Gulyás said. European Union money, he said, was “our money”. “We are not receiving it as a gift,” he said, adding that the pay rise for teachers would cost around 6,000 billion forints, of which 1.77 billion euros or 700 billion forints would be provided by the EU.

Gulyás added that nurses’ wages will rise by 20% from March 1, so the average wage of nurses will be 715,000 forints. He noted that, in line with the European practice, the government had earlier decided to set nurses’ wages at 37% of doctors’ salaries. As regards the rise in pensions from Jan 1, Gulyás said the government was confident that the 6% increase would significantly outpace inflation this year. He added that pensions were also increased last year — when inflation was very high — by 18.5%. The wages of law enforcement employees rose by 79,500 forints on average, the minister said, following a pay rise of 116,000 forints on average in 2022. The value of the work of law enforcement officers, he said, was shown by the fact that Hungary was one of the safest countries in the world, he said, adding that soldiers’ wages increased by 11 percent on average on Jan 1. Speaking about family subsidies, he said the child-care benefit increased to 373,000 forints and the child-care benefit of university students increased to 186,000 forints for undergraduates and to 228,200 for master’s students. He added that the new rules of the system of family subsidies had taken effect from Jan 1, and these were expected to have a positive impact on the property market, especially in smaller settlements. Gulyás said the government’s economic policy would meet the challenges of inflation and sustaining real wage increases. In contrast, the “spectacular” increase in teachers’ salaries may contribute a higher quality of public education.