February 25, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Hungary: migrants "supplanted" local workers at the Continental plant (video)

There is a crisis at the Continental plant in Hungary – at least 50 employees were replaced by migrants, signing temporary contracts with them.

The Hungarian branch of a German enterprise in the city of Mako, in the southeast of the country, decided that it was much more profitable to keep Indonesian workers, because it would be much more difficult for them to defend their own interests and rights. It is noteworthy that the Indonesian migrants were trained by the same workers who are now being replaced by a more “compliant” workforce, writes Euronews, citing statements from trade unions.

Management at Continental, a German maker of tires, auto electronics and other components, has been accused of seeking to increase the share of foreigners on temporary contracts. Some of the laid-off Hungarian workers had worked at the plant for decades. The fact that the company hired 200 temporary workers from Indonesia before firing them, followed by a reduction in staff at the expense of local workers, caused a huge outcry. Plant director Levente Sursabo stated that these actions were necessary:

“We have the lowest unemployment rate in the region and we could not grow, so we had to turn to foreign labor just to meet the demand created by the boom in the auto industry. I emphasize that this is a temporary solution.”

The plant is going through difficult times, as it mainly supplies parts for diesel and gasoline cars; it has no new prospects. Management also blames one of the unions that organized the strike two years ago. Representatives of the team reject all claims. Rubber Union President Gabor Radics says:

“We are now hearing that the company is in trouble, that its future is under threat. If so, then, in our opinion, the management should not have fired employees in retaliation for the strike, so that their jobs would go to 200 Indonesians a few months later. The plant should not have sign a two-year contract with them.”

The government of Viktor Orban, known for its anti-migrant rhetoric, has relaxed the conditions for hiring foreigners. Now Budapest promises to conduct an investigation and, if necessary, change the laws.

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