Czech public sector pay rising fastest

Pay growth has been faster in the public than private sector and unions are now turning to securing further increases for workers in the latter area.

Photo: Filip JandourekPhoto: Filip Jandourek In recent years, public sector salaries have risen faster in the Czech Republic than pay in the private sphere, according to Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs data cited by the Czech News Agency. Now the country’s trade unions are advising private sector staff to demand up to 10 percent more next year.

From the end of 2011 until the end of last year, the average worker in the private sector in the Czech Republic saw their pay packet swell by CZK 3,200 before tax. However, those in the employ of the state saw their salaries grow by CZK 5,800 in the same five-year period.

That growth resulted in staff in both spheres ending up with a similar pay level. Public sector employees got an average of CZK 29,501 a month at the end of 2016, while those in the private sector received CZK 28,969 monthly.

On Thursday, around 1,500 trade union members gathered in Prague for a Czech Confederation of Trade Unions conference aimed at preparing a strategy for private sector pay negotiations.

The unions umbrella organization issued recommendations as to how much such employees should be demanding next year, specifically telling its members to call for pay rises of between 8 and 10 percent.

Last year the unions told their private sector members to demand pay rises of 5 percent, a figure that many have managed to achieve.

Following pressure from teachers unions and the Czech Confederation of Trade Unions, the government announced just this week that it would give educators a rise of 15 percent a month from this coming November.

Other state sector workers will see their income grow by 10 percent. Doctors and nurses will have to wait until January for their rises to come through.

Last year average private sector salaries rose by 4.1 percent year-on-year, while those in the public sector went up by 5.5 percent. Half of those in the private sector had an average monthly income of less than CZK 24,178 in 2016.

The Confederation of Trade Unions has for a number of years been campaigning on the slogan The End of Cheap Labour. However, unions aren’t the only reason for pay growth. Other significant factors are the growth of the Czech economy and the situation on the labour market.

The number of people out of work last month was the lowest for 19 years, with fewer than 300,000 recorded.

In the third quarter of this year there were some 3.1 million people employed in the private sector in the Czech Republic. There were around 670,600 state employees.