Hungary: Opposition parties try to block labor law changes

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungarian opposition parties are blocking access to the parliamentary speaker’s pulpit, trying to prevent the legislature from adopting amendments loosening the country’s labor code.

A government-backed proposal scheduled to be voted on Wednesday by lawmakers would raise workers’ allowable overtime from 250 to 400 hours a year and relax other labor rules, attempts to offset Hungary’s growing labor shortage.

Opponents of the draft legislation, which also aims to extend to three years from one year the period employers get to settle the payment of accrued overtime, call it a “slave law.”

The government says labor flexibility is needed to satisfy investors’ needs — like those of the German car companies whose factories help drive Hungary’s economic growth — and to allow workers looking to earn more to work longer hours.

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