Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said wage increases will mean "not only do we have jobs, but it is financially worth our while to do our jobs”, upon signing the 2017-2018 wage agreement on Thursday at the Ministry for National Economy.
The prime minister stressed that the wage increase did not come about as a consequence of positive international trends. It is not something "that was given by the IMF”, and neither is it down to sheer good luck.
Millions of Hungarians have worked hard over the past few years for the possibility of the current wage increase. This is a robust achievement, he pointed out, adding that the wage agreement "is not an agreement that is based on a vision”, but an agreement that relies on the hard work we have completed in recent years, something that "we have worked hard for”.
The prime minister said similar attempts to increase wages have been made several times in the past 26 years, but no comprehensive agreement had ever been reached. The Hungarian government has now succeeded in achieving that.
He said that in order to have the opportunity now to talk about wages, we needed jobs, and in order to have jobs, we needed a fully operational economy.
He highlighted that six years ago we did not talk about wages, but about how to save the economy from financial ruin.
He underlined that the wage increase "is not a question of good intentions”. It requires a competitive economy and competitive businesses because only competitive businesses are able to pay wages and to raise wages.
The prime minister said the current work agreement is about the future, not about how to find jobs, but about making work financially worthwhile.
"The meaning of this agreement is – if we manage to accomplish this – that we can now say that not only do we have jobs, but it is financially worth our while to do our jobs," he stated.
He also pointed out that the agreement is about tax cuts as well, in return for the pay rise. He said that while this is mentioned less, there will be significant contribution cuts for small and medium-sized businesses to which the agreement signed on Thursday will also apply.
PM Orbán added that we are on the verge of a technological revolution, in his words, a new industrial revolution. There are technological changes in modern economies, including Hungary, on such a scale that will alter everything, he added.
In his words, the agreement now signed can also be construed as the starting point of a new economic policy for the years ahead.