Union activists demonstrated against the Suzuki factory in Esztergom to protest the eleven-hour working day introduced by the company on 1 July. The demonstrators were not Suzuki employees, who allegedly are afraid of reprisals. Philosopher Miklós Tamás Gáspár took part in the demonstration.
Shell Hungary has set up a gas trade division with the intention of operating in the industrial segment of the market, CEO István Varga announced last week.
The chief of the Linamar Corporation, which manufactures cars parts and agricultural machinery, last week threatened to pull out of Hungary after failing to secure its goal of de-listing Linamar Hungary from the Budapest Stock Exchange. Linamar Corporation, the majority shareholder, asked for the vote, but it fell just short of gaining the required support level of 75% of the shareholders present at the meeting. Linamar Corporation CEO Linda Hasenfratz said that if her company was not able to acquire the shares at a reasonable price, it would “need to look alternative locations” for its European production centre.
Locals in the village of Kulcs, located near the Hankook tire factory in Dunaújváros, last week started a referendum aimed at stopping the South Korean giant from building a residential park for 400 of its employees. Hankook wants to buy 21 hectares in the village and build apartments and homes, as well as a new community centre for the village. The project would cost a total of around HUF 6 billion (EUR 24.33 million).
A foreign investor is planning to build a second-generation biofuel plant in an old alumina factory in AlmásfüzitĹ‘, north Hungary, the head of Iverg Consulting said last week. Pál Gágyor, who is involved in the negotiations, said the investment would cost HUF 100 billion (EUR 406 million) and that the new plant would produce 320,000 tonnes of fuel from one million tones of maize annually. Second generation biofuels give out around 30% more energy than earlier types and can be mixed with traditional fuel without damaging car engines.
The National Health Fund spent 14.1% less on drug subsidies – HUF 158.4 billion (EUR 642.8 million) – in the first half of this year than in the previous year, a fund official said. Drug companies are also struggling to collect on monies owed by hospitals, the business daily Magyar Hírlap said, claiming that the hospitals owed billions of forints. The paper said that confusion brought about by healthcare reform was partly to blame.
The head of the Christian Democrats (KDNP) last week said that his party wished to initiate a debate on restricting Sunday working hours to a bare minimum. Zsolt Semjén claimed that working on a Sunday was unconstitutional and said the party wanted to restore Sunday as a holiday.
Only 1 in 9 Hungarians (12%) is able to put aside savings according to a poll byÂ Sonda Ipsos published in newsmagazine FigyelĹ‘. Some 71% said their incomes were around the threshold of making ends meet. Somewhat positive was a shift in attitudes towards the future: only 51% felt their household finances were going to worsen, compared to 58% who felt the same in the first quarter.
The minimum subsistence level for an average household has risen by 6.2% since 2005, the Central Statistical Office said last week. The minimum level is now HUF 174,371 (EUR 707) per month. The calculation was based on two adults and two children.
State Tax Authority (APEH) chairman János Szikora last week told Napi Gazdaság that the body had increased its detection of unpaid taxes by 24% yr-on-yr. He said that APEH had started 11,000 investigations into personal assets, even though the 2007 target was for 10,000.
The fee for visits to outpatient clinics went up last week from HUF 600 to HUF 1,000 for those visiting without referral.
The farm-gate price for milk will rise by 2-5% this week, following on from a 5% increase at the start of the year, chairman for the Milk Product Council Miklós Istvánfalvi said last week.
The State Tax Authority (APEH) is to turn its attention to clients of bankrupt car advert company Il Ferro after failing to collect taxes and social contributions on monies paid for placing adverts on their cars, the daily Magyar Hírlap reported last week. Il Ferro paid people to carry adverts for magazines and other products on their cars until it went bust. The company was responsible for sorting out taxes, the paper said, but as APEH was unable to collect from the disgraced firm it would turn to the clients themselves.
Hungary has shown a drastic population decrease in recent years, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) reported last week. 2007 alone shows a drop of 8,000 inhabitants between January and April. Despite the positive balance of migration since 2004, the numbers have maintained a steady downward spiral. Experts currently estimate an annual drop between 10,000 and 20,000. The birth rate and fertility have also dropped. With a 1.03% drop in birth rates since the 1970s, Hungary faces a continuing steady decrease of population in the coming year, the report said. Observers expect the population to dip below 10 million soon.