Thousands protest in Hungary in solidarity with teachers demanding higher salaries

Around 8,000 people marched in Budapest in solidarity with Hungary’s teachers – who are facing low pay and poor working conditions.

According to the teacher’s union PSZ, young teachers are living off a monthly salary of around €500 after taxes.

And the amount is becoming harder to survive on as inflation reaches 14 percent in the country.

The thousands of protesters at Friday’s demonstration chanted slogans, such as "pay our teachers", "strike is a fundamental right" and "free country, free education".

Hungary is also dealing with a teacher shortage, with an estimated 16,000 vacant positions.

Earlier this week, some teachers in Hungary temporarily did not work when schools reopened after their summer breaks.

The country’s unions also announced that they are organizing a national strike.

Authorities responded to the growing movement by arguing that they cannot meet teachers' demands until they access funds currently held by the European Union.

The bloc is holding the €5.8 billion COVID-19 recovery fund because of corruption concerns.

Neighbouring Poland is facing a similar problem as it deals with a shortage of around 20,000 teachers. However, Polish Education Minister Przemyslaw Czarnek claimed the country has around 13,000 open vacancies.

Slawomir Broniarz, the president of the Polish Teachers’ Trade Union, said one of the reasons the country is losing its teachers is because their starting pre-tax salary is around €720.

Inflation in Poland has reached 16 percent.

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