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Hungary  Hungary

Key Facts

Population9,932,000
Collective Bargaining Coverage 33%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 12%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

company

Workplace Representation

union and works council

Board-level Representation

yes: state-owned and private companies

Company Board Structure

dualistic or monistic (only public limited companies can choose a monistic structure)

Sources: see individual country sections; where a range of figures has been quoted, the lower number has been taken

Trade Unions

Hungary has a relatively low level of union density – probably less than 12%. Trade unionism is also fragmented, with six competing confederations (MSZOSZ, ASZSZ, SZEF, ÉSZT, LIGA and MOSZ), although in 2013 three of them (MSZOSZ, ASZSZ and SZEF) set up a new confederation, MSZSZ, as an umbrella body. There is currently competition between unions both in industries and in individual companies, particularly in large state-owned companies.note1

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Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining primarily takes place at company/organisational level, despite considerable efforts by both unions and previous governments to encourage industry level bargaining. Around one third of employees are covered by collective bargaining of any sort.

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Workplace Representation

Workplace representation in Hungary is provided by both local trade unions and elected works councils with the balance between the two varying over time. Under the new labour code, unions have negotiating rights but have lost their monitoring powers and their right to be informed and consulted. Works councils have information and consultation rights but in practice often find it difficult to influence company decisions.

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Board-level Representation

Employee representatives make up one third of the members of the supervisory board in companies with more than 200 employees. But new legislation, passed in 2006, allowed single tier boards for the first time, and here employee rights are much weaker.

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European-level Representation

European representatives from Hungary for both European Works Councils and the European Company are chosen by the works council, or central works council, if there is one. Only the appointment of board members to a European Company is different – they are chosen by the SE representative body.

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Health and Safety Representation

Elected health and safety representatives are the main way that the interests of employees are represented in the area of health and safety in Hungary. However, in larger employers there is also a joint health and safety committee, made up of representatives of both sides.

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Financial Participation

Employee participation, in the form of employee ownership, profit-sharing and cooperatives, has a long history in Hungary. The most important form is employee ownership, which enjoyed much support in the early years of privatization through the Hungarian Employee Share Ownership Programme. Despite the support in the early years, the relative weight of this ownership form decreased rapidly in recent years and is now quite insignificant.

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