The support for the strike at Volánbusz was smaller than expected; almost two-thirds of bus drivers would prefer to continue negotiations at the bargaining table for the 2024 wage development, and they do not see the strike as justified, the Volánbusz company announced on Monday, 11 December.
According to the observations on the second day of the strike declared by the Solidarity Bus Transport Trade Union (SZAKSZ),
the vast majority of Volánbusz employees did not support the work boycott, with only 14 per cent of the total workforce participating in it.
According to the compiled data on Monday, contrary to the calculations and statements of the trade union, the proportion of bus drivers taking part in the strike was 21 per cent of their total staff and 39 per cent of those working on Monday. The statement emphasized that the management of Volánbusz remains committed to concluding the wage agreement for 2024 with the employees in January, following the practice of previous years.
The Solidarity Bus Transport Trade Union has declared a work stoppage at Volánbusz on 10 and 11 December. During the strike, the transportation company assured the provision of essential services, and the list of non-operational routes was displayed on Volánbusz’s website. Volánbusz Zrt. stated that out of nearly 20 interest groups functioning in the company, none has indicated an intention to join the work stoppage so far.
Volánbusz continues to dispute the ‘unjustified work stoppage’s’ legality and appeals the decision that rejected its request to rule on the illegality of the two-day strike
announced by the Solidarity Bus Transport Trade Union for this year. According to Volánbusz, the dispute is not about the right to strike, but rather, its timing.
The company’s position is that there is no reason or legal basis for a work stoppage at this time since there is a valid wage agreement for this year within the framework of the collective agreement, which the management of Volánbusz has fully adhered to. As a responsible employer, the company is willing and interested in reaching a new deal on next year’s wage development, as stated in their communiqué. They emphasize that Volánbusz values its employees, and strives to retain and increase their satisfaction at he workplace. The company has previously declared and reiterated its commitment to reaching a wage agreement as soon as possible, preferably by 20 January 2024, with the relevant trade unions.
Despite the strike being ‘unjustified’, Volánbusz has immediately started preparing for it. The company has released a timetable conforming to the essential service requirements within the deadline prescribed by the public transportation law, two days before the start of the work stoppage.
In response to Volánbusz Zrt.’s statement,
the Solidarity Bus Transport Trade Union asserted that the Metropolitan Labour Court of Budapest has issued a clear and unambiguous order affirming the legality of the strike
and went on to call the employer’s interpretation of the strike ‘absurd’. They also noted that SZAKSZ has collective bargaining capacity at Volánbusz Zrt., so there can be no agreement without them.
The LIGA Trade Unions, in a statement on Friday, 8 December expressed their solidarity and support for the transport union, affiliated with the National Confederation of Hungarian Trade Unions, in their strike on December 10–11 to reinforce the wage demands of workers for 2024. According to LIGA, the exercise of the right to strike in this case is a fundamental right, meant to promote the legitimate economic interests of workers. LIGA Trade Unions do not find any restrictions on the strike acceptable and support the legitimate expectations of workers for a just wage increase.
Source: Hungarian Conservative/MTI