December 19, 2012 5:50 PM
On Wednesday, in the Parliament at the signing ceremony of the agreement on next year's guaranteed minimum wage, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated that 2013 will certainly start well, with higher wages and lower utilities costs from January 1.
The agreement indicates that the Government will ensure budgetary support in those sectors that are "especially sensitive" to minimal wage rises, in order to offset the increase in salary costs and contributions during the first half of the year.
Ha added that the cabinet is linking the agreement on the minimal wage rise with the reduction of utility costs; these together may be considered a unique European accomplishment. It certainly does not mean that people will be "rolling in money", but it can be stated that Hungary had become strong enough to protect its residents from the impoverishing effects of the crisis in Europe, said the Prime Minister.
The agreement on the rise in the minimum wage is based on the consensus that Hungary's future can only be built on labour - the Prime Minister said.
Besides, the country shall become a production center, for which a flexible, hard-working, qualified and effective Hungarian labour force is needed - he added.
Speaking about the right to set the minimum wage, he reminded those present that the cabinet had assured advocacy groups that it did not want to deprive them of the right to determine wages, but that a final guarantee - the Government's right to determine the minimum wage - was needed in case an agreement between the negotiating parties could not be reached.
Viktor Orbán recalled the recent economic consultation, in which 83 percent of respondents agreed with the policy of regular minimum wage rises. He reiterated that wages should not be increased from loans raised abroad.
At the end of his speech, the Prime Minister stated that "we have good expectations" that with the economic policy determined in the budget there will be economic growth again in Hungary, and what is more, "in 2013 we shall see the first year of a period of sustainable economic growth". From next year, the monthly minimum wage will rise to HUF 98,000 (EUR 341) from HUF 93,000 - an increase of some 5.4 percent - while the minimum wage for skilled workers will climb by 5.6 percent from HUF 108,000 to HUF 114,000 (EUR 397).
(Prime Minister's Office)