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Zsuzsanna Arendas, Sara Hungler: The Level Playing Field of Hungarian Social Partners Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic

“For numerous reasons, social dialogue in Hungary generally does not fulfil its role on the national, sectoral, or workplace level,” our Research Fellow Zsuzsanna Arendas and Sara Hungler (Centre for Social Sciences, Budapest) write in their article in Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics.

“Social dialogue as a democratic process is dysfunctional, since its institutions and mechanisms are not implemented democratically, and no real dialogue or actual debate take place,” the authors write, adding that “these mechanisms work in a top-down manner – the illiberal state and its central governing bodies expect certain solutions and answers, leaving no scope for transparent democratic dialogue with the relevant social partners.”

“Against this background, in 2019 major strike activity was witnessed in the automotive sector. However, in 2020, after the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hungarian government deployed its full power by adopting the ‘Authorization Act,’ which allowed the government to introduce significant restrictions, practically without any time limits, any debate in parliament, or guarantee of swift and effective constitutional review,” they continue.

The research paper investigates these “recent developments in social dialogue using a case study, with the aim of understanding the forces underlying the collective action organized in the automotive sector.”

Download the full paper here.

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