Hungary: Unions call for strike, protests over labor law

Union leaders in Hungary are calling for a Jan. 19 national strike and protests to oppose labor code changes they see as a "slave law" harmful to workers.

A crowd of at least 10,000 people gathered on Saturday outside the Hungarian parliament building in Budapest to protest a law approved in December that allows employers to request up to 400 hours of overtime a year from workers.

Hungarian Trade Union Federation President Laszlo Kordas said the unions would present their demands — which include higher wages and a more flexible retirement system — to Prime Minister Viktor Orban. If the government refuses to negotiate, they will hold the strike.

Government spokesman Istvan Hollik repeated the claim that Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros is funding protests of the labor law.