Working hours in the Czech Republic are the third longest in the European Union, according to the daily Právo. Citing the results of an international survey, the paper puts the average work week for Czechs at 42.9 hours, with one in four employees saying they work from 7.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The survey, which maps key changes in employment over the last 50 years, suggests that two fifths of employees do not leave the office for lunch breaks and devote an average of 42 minutes to their work in the evenings.
Czech trades unions say they will wait until after further talks with the prime minister, Petr Nečas, before deciding whether to take strike action in protest at planned cuts in public sector pay. On Tuesday union leaders informed Mr Nečas that they were starting an indefinite “strike alert”. For his part, the prime minister said the right-of-centre coalition would not back down over plans to reduce the total amount spent on state salaries by 10 percent next year. While the cabinet is due to discuss the unions’ demands in two weeks’ time, a representative of the unions said on Wednesday that they were doubtful much could be expected of talks with government leaders.
Trades unions in the Czech Republic have announced an indefinite “strike
alert” in protest at government plans to cut the salaries of state
employees. The leader of the main unions organisation, Jaroslav Zavadil,
informed the Czech prime minister, Petr Nečas, of the decision on Tuesday
morning. After that meeting, Mr Nečas said the government would not back
down over its plan to cut the total amount spent on public sector pay by
percent next year. The prime minister called for more talks with union
The right-of-centre coalition has pledged to balance the Czech Republic’s budget by 2016. It plans extensive reforms of the pension, health and tertiary education systems.
A full sixty percent of Czechs fear losing their jobs, according to the results of a poll by the job portal Onlineprace. The poll conducted in mid-September indicates that only 16 percent of Czechs have no reason for concern in this respect, saying they are certain of their job. Nine percent said they felt very uncertain about their future prospects because of recent lay-off in their company. The exceptionally high degree of concern is attributed to the government’s cost-cutting measures which has led many public institutions and state-owned companies to lay off staff.
Clerks and office workers from state and private companies on Saturday took part in their annual Office Workers’ Rat Race –a mock sporting competition in which they compete in throwing office files or racing down the square on office chairs. All participants must adhere to a strict office dress code and come armed with at least one mobile.
The Czech unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in September from 8.6 percent in August, extending an almost continuous decline over seven months, official data showed on Friday. Labour offices had over 500,000 job seekers in their files at the end of September, 1,000 fewer than in August. There are currently 14 job applicants per vacancy on average. The unemployment rate in the 10.5 million strong Czech Republic has been falling gradually since it hit 9.9 percent in February.
The government has approved a proposal to decrease the salaries of state officials by five percent. The cuts affect the salaries of parliament deputies, ministers, and state prosecutors until 2014; the salaries of judges will be decreased only for 2011. The basic salaries of parliament deputies and senators should be roughly 52,000 crowns per month while the basic pay for ministers will drop to 107.000 crowns. Judges and prosecutors are protesting the cut. The Czech Constitutional Court recently overturned a four-percent reduction in the salaries of judges in the Czech Republic citing a previous verdict which declared that the salaries of judges had to be stable and could not be cut.
The daily Právo reports that hundreds more police will be voluntarily retiring this year than the Interior Ministry has anticipated. Citing police statistics, Právo writes that the presidium expects nearly 2,000 employees to leave the force at the end of 2010. Only recently Interior Minister Radek John said he expected roughly 1,200 departures. The number of retirement applications apparently spiralled last week, as police employees sought to take advantage of benefits and severance pay available to them only if they resigned by October. Some 950 policemen availed themselves of that possibility at the last moment; for comparison, about 1100 retired earlier in the year. The Ministry of the Interior has planned to cut police salaries by 10%, in line with cuts across state employees’ salaries.
Staff numbers at Czech hotels and restaurants have fallen by 8.5 percent, according to figures provided by the Czech Statistical Office and the agency Mag Consulting. While 125,000 people worked in the industry at the end of the first half of 2009, at the end of June this year the number was 10,600 fewer. A representative of the Czech hotels and restaurants association said the trend was likely to continue. He said things were particularly hard for restaurants in rented premises.