Despite the statements of the Hungarian State Treasury (MÁK), the payment of wages is still problematic in the public sector. Besides deficient payment, overpayment also occurs. Moreover, employees do not receive their pay lists or adequate information – was stated at an event organised by the National Confederation of Workers’ Councils.
Total chaos even in 2016
Although the Centralized Payroll System was tested for one year before going live in November 2015, the situation has been still chaotic this January. The extent of the problem cannot be estimated as many employees probably did not report their problems.
As trade unions received numerous complaints, they decided to report the case to the National Council for the Reconciliation of Interests in Public Services (OKÉT), said Imre Palkovics, president of Workers’ Councils. Salaries in the public sector are paid inaccurately, insufficiently or belatedly. Moreover, a high proportion of the employees did not receive statements of account, pay lists; the last salary slips were issued in October.
Sickness benefits and salaries are often wrongly accounted for and in the case of overpayment sometimes a certain percentage of the salary is withdrawn unlawfully. In the case of negative salaries, employees are unable to determine which components of their salary have been accounted for. In case of deficient payment another problem arises: family and other allowances related to the salary cannot be paid either.
These typical mistakes affect the Hungarian public sector that employs approximately 800,000 people. “We experience the state is unwilling to take the responsibility, those responsible for the anomaly have not been named and MÁK claims that the problem has been remedied despite the fact that there is a flood of complaints”, said Mr Palkovics.
Will they go on strike?
The government cynically trivialises the problem. Trade unions demand that employees get immediate information about the salaries and under- and overpayment should be corrected as soon as possible, Arrears in salary should be paid by the state and employees are also entitled to default interest. If the government fails to meet these demands, Workers’ Councils will organise a demonstration with the involvement of the other national trade union confederations, said Gábor Holecz, vice president of the public sector workers of Workers’ Councils and the president of the Trade Union of Customs and Financial Workers.
Workers lend to the state to be able to work
According to surveys, the problem is more serious in hospitals and social institutions where several allowances, e.g. overtime pay and on-call duty allowances have not been paid properly.
Due to the lack of payments for periods of absence, employees who were on sick leave came off especially badly, there are people who received only HUF 5000, said Adrianna Soós, president of the Independent Union of Health Care Workers. “People are desperate, the majority of workers do not have savings and the run-up for Christmas exacerbated the problem”, she emphasised.
MÁK has not bothered to react
It is expected that the problems will remain in February as there are many administrative mistakes; besides deficient payments, family allowances of HUF 30 – 40,000 per family are also in arrears, warned Miklós Kucsera, general secretary of the Independent Union of Prison Workers.
It is nonsense that the State Treasury does not negotiate with us, that no one is responsible while the Military Prosecutor’s Office conducts a criminal procedure against one of our members who expressed his opinion on the Facebook.
MÁK reacted consultation next week
The Hungarian State Treasury would like to transfer salaries and wages in time. MÁK emphasises that their interests are common with the trade unions: they want to transfer correctly accounted wages in time.
MÁK reacted to the press conference where Imre Palkovics, president of Workers’ Councils said that their confederation initiated immediate consultation on the malfunction of the wage accounting system of the public sector with MÁK. Mr Palkovics emphasized that no employee can suffer a loss due to the error of the wage accounting system.
In its communication, MÁK highlighted that the State Treasury account the wages of 13, 000 institutions, i.e. 900, 000 employees every month. They also drew the attention to the email@example.com email address where public employees “experiencing anomalies” can receive prompt response to their comments.
MÁK also added that regional directorates investigate the complaints out of turn, accounting errors would be corrected and arrears would be paid mid-month. “MÁK is open to the request of the trade union and the first discussion will take place already next week”, they added.
József Dancsó, president of MÁK told MTI on 9 January that the organisation would investigate every complaint of public employees without delay. He emphasized that they can only deal with complaints reported to their email address.