In the current situation of high inflation and large budget deficits, salary increases for politicians and central bankers alike are rightly criticised. While, because of the poor economic situation, the wages of most citizens are falling in real terms due to inflation, these high-ranking civil servants are not feeling any of the pinch.
The Hungarian education system is in an alarming state. Since the regime change in 1990, many both left-wing and right-wing governments tried to reform education; however, neither of those were successful.
Teachers’ salaries are a topic every year. This time, however, it is different. In addition to internal arguments about the state of education, external developments – inflation and the public deficit – also play an important role.
If we want to start talking about next year’s minimum wage increase, we first need to look to the past. As we all know, 2020 was the year of the pandemic, and that brought with it, among other things, a significant downturn in the economy, and with it a fall in labor productivity. The private sector responded logically by reducing the growth in average wages. But not all businesses had this option.
The Slovak education system has a number of problems but the generally low teacher salary is not one of them. Those who claim the opposite refer to an international comparison: the share of teachers’ wages in wages of university-educated people.
The European Commission has proposed options for possible EU action addressing the challenges related to fair minimum wages in the EU. The initiative has a general objective to ensure that all workers in the EU are protected by fair minimum wages, allowing for a decent living wherever they work.
Slovak large-scale employers want the highest possible wage compensation, looking up to the German or Austrian Kurzarbeit system, which covers up to 85% of wage costs. Journalists and some economists argue that we should borrow as much as we can.
Wage debates are always heated, no matter if it is an employee asking their boss for a rise, or union negotiations. Anyway, in the past year or two, the wage question became one of the leading topics of public debate in Slovakia.
French President Emanuel Macron addressed the citizens of the EU is a special letter, entitled “For European renewal”, published simultaneously in select media in all member states. This move by Macron is not surprising.