Hundreds of students in Hungary join teacher rebellion over low pay

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By Euronews
Students gathered in solidarity with teachers in Budapest, Hungary
Students gathered in solidarity with teachers in Budapest, Hungary   -  Copyright  ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP

Despite the pouring rain, hundreds of students gathered in front of the MTVA headquarters, a state-owned media company, on Friday in Budapest, Hungary.

The students were backing teachers sacked for rebelling over low pay and years of government neglect.

"I spoke to many of my former teachers about this and heard from all of them about the difficulties they are going through. I want to help them. And we deserve a better education and a better future also," Fanni, a protester, told Euronews.

Lighting torches and chanting anti-government slogans, their goal was to show solidarity with the teachers.

Last week, Budapest's school district dismissed eight teachers for daring to protest.

In December, Karinthy Frigyes High School in Budapest had to close because their staff numbered below the legal minimum, as many teachers were sacked or absent.

Meanwhile, an "extraordinary break" was ordered at Vörösmarty Mihály Secondary School after 90% of the teaching staff refused to return to work following the dismissal of a colleague.

Hungarian teachers are the lowest paid of any EU member state, with cashiers making more money than them.

Hungary is already in the grip of a chronic teacher shortage, with few young people joining the profession.

Even before the cost of living crisis, Hungarian teachers felt underpaid, earning approximately €520-560 per month after more than a decade on the job. In comparison, the average price of an apartment in Budapest is €400-600.

Inflation in Hungary is currently at 22.5%, which is among the highest in the EU.