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Industrial Relations and Social Dialogue in the Age of Collaborative Economy (IRSDACE), National Report: Hungary

Tibor Meszmann

No 27, Research Reports from Central European Labour Studies Institute (CELSI)

Abstract: In Hungary, work in the platform economy as such is neither defined nor regulated as a separate area. Industrial relations and working conditions in selected platform sectors typically appear as deviating or innovative segments of the traditional sectors or subsectors of local personal transport, housework, and accommodation services. Regulation is the most important issue at the centre of both discourses and is the main area of interest of platform economy participants. This is also due to traditional employers and their organizations’ insistence on fair competition. Nevertheless, the extent of regulation varies significantly across the platform economy sectors. The platform economy in Hungary was established especially in sectors where more informal services was characteristic. In these labour cost sensitive sectors a high level of informality in industrial i.e. employment relations has been characteristic. Typically, if registered, those working via platforms are either self-employed small entrepreneurs or registered natural persons working as service providers. Such employment forms also do not provide solid ground for self-organization of labour. For platform workers or service providers, the main advantage of platform work was efficiency through the possibility of earning maximal gross incomes or through earning extra income. The main disadvantages seemed to have pointed in the direction of the individualization of risks. There was a lack of preparation for novices in the sector, especially young individuals, who were insufficiently informed about requirements, risks, and lacked administrative information. Although trade unions are aware of some emerging issues, they have much different priorities and limited capacities to organize individual workers. Platforms typically present themselves not as employers but as innovative, alternative enterprises, and they are mostly invisible in public. Social dialogue in the traditional sectors is weak. Consequently, it is weaker in the selected sectors of the platform economy. Labour is extremely atomized and the possibility of interest articulation via trade unions or alternative organizations is typically not recognized.

Date: 2018-12-09
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