Anti-pluralism, labour market policy and the pandemic: Political uses and social consequences of COVID-19 in Hungary

February 2024

New publication: Gárdos, J., Hungler, S., & Illéssy, M. (2024). Anti-pluralism, Labour Market Policy and the Pandemic: Political Uses and Social Consequences of COVID-19 in Hungary. Social & Legal Studies, 0(0). Online first. Q1.

Combining sociological, legal and political science approaches, our article investigates some pandemic-related national policy measures and analyses survey studies on the reactions of the labour market and its actors to the COVID-19 pandemic in Hungary, a neoliberal national-populist country. Our surveys conducted with employers and employees show that job losses and working time reductions especially hit vulnerable groups of employees, among them young people and low wage earners, increasing existing social inequalities. The legislative changes seriously damaged the employees’ individual and collective rights and did not prove to be overly helpful for the employers either. The pandemic did not initiate any substantial policy changes, as the Hungarian autocratic regime was not very interested in effectively tempering its shocking effects on public health and the labour market. Instead, the government took the situation as a pretext in order to further reduce pluralism in the country's policymaking processes.