New legislation in Hungary raises the amount of overtime employers can demand their employees. Critics describe it as a “slave law”.
“We have to remove bureaucratic rules so that those who want to work and earn more can do so,” Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in defence of the legislation this week.
Another controversial law establishes new courts to consider government business with a greater role for the justice minister.
Both laws have provoked a rare show of defiance from the opposition, heavily outnumbered in a chamber where Orbán’s Fidesz party commands a two-thirds majority.
As reported by The Guardian, opposition MPs attempted to block the podium. In response, parliament speaker, László Kövér, said the opposition’s “attempt at obstruction was unprecedented in 28 years of Hungarian democracy”.
The new legislation will mean the country’s supreme court no longer has the final say in so-called administrative disputes, which cover a wide range of issues including electoral practice and corruption cases.
In a separate report, the Reuters news agency noted that rights groups warn that Hungary’s right-wing prime minister is taking further step towards authoritarianism.
“[The law] is a serious threat to the rule of law in Hungary and runs counter to values Hungary signed up to when it joined the European Union,” the rights group Helsinki Committee said in a statement. “As the bill undermines the separation of powers, the boundaries between the executive and judicial power in Hungary will be blurred and it could pave the way for the government’s political interference.”