Among the many coronavirus measures introduced by the Czech government is a “kurzarbeit”, or short-time working, programme. Under the scheme the state will make up some of the income lost by employees whose work is reduced by factory outages, helping firms avoid redundancies. The idea has received widespread backing, including from the Czech Confederation of Trade Unions, headed by Josef Středula. I discussed it – and the outlook in general – with the unions chief.
Trade unions will demand at 6-7 percent rise in average wages this year,
according to Josef Středula, head of the Czech-Moravian Confederation of
In an interview with iDnes.cz published on Sunday, Středula said that despite an expected slowdown, Czech companies can afford pay hikes. If wages stagnate, he said, the entire Czech economy – half of which is driven by consumption – is at risk.
Czech GDP in real terms has already exceeded 90 percent of the European Union average, yet Czech wages are at around 30 percent of the European average in nominal terms, Středula said.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) has said the planned teachers’ strike
over salaries on Wednesday is unwarranted and the government will not
respond to it.
Teacher unions last week announced plans for the all-day strike after their demands for a 10 percent salary increase was not met. Babiš and Minister of Education Robert Plaga (ANO) had offered an 8 percent raise.
Over 6,000 schools, nearly 60 percent, have so far confirmed that they will take part in the strike on Wednesday, the unions said, while others will display a logo signifying their support.
The average monthly gross salary of a teacher was around 36,200 crowns in the first quarter of 2019 while the national average stood at 32,466 crowns. The unions have been pushing to raise teachers' salaries to 130 percent of the average.
Teaching trade unions have asked for a meeting with Prime Minister Andrej
Babiš about their planned January salary increase and remain on strike
alert, the Czech News Agency reported on Monday.
The unions originally wanted a 15 percent increase to their salaries as opposed to the government’s planned 10 percent pay rise, but have since agreed to the percentage proposed by the latter. The issue now revolves around how the extra pay should be handed out.
The unions have so far not commented on a new proposal by Education Minister Robert Plaga from the ANO party, which would see a flat pay increase of CZK 2,700 with a further CZK 900 available in bonuses.
The government previously promised to increase teachers’ salaries by 150 percent of their 2017 wages by the end of the current election term.
Czech trade unions have recommended that negotiators push for pay rises of
6 to 7 percent next year. The Czech Confederation of Trade Unions made the
call at a conference attended by over 1,500 union delegates in Prague on
Tuesday. The umbrella organisation also said that it would push for reduced
working hours without pay decreases and for longer holidays.
The Czech Chamber of Commerce said employers were planning an average pay increase of 6 percent in 2020 in any case, regardless of pressure from workers.
Some 1,500 trade unionists from across the Czech Republic are due to demonstrate in Prague on Tuesday to demand higher wages ahead of tripartite talks. The Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (ČMKOS) is due to make public its official wage demands for 2020 and highlight its long-term campaign to end “cheap labour”, ČTK reports.
Some 1,500 trade unionists from all over the Czech Republic are planning to
go to Prague on September 17 to demonstrate in support of higher wages
ahead of tripartite talks.
The Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (CMKOS) will make public its demands for next year, based on a study on bringing Czech earnings closer to the average income in the old EU member states.
The planned demonstration is part of a trade union campaign aimed at ending cheap labor in the country.
There are approximately 3.1 million people working in the private sector, where the average wage is CZK 33,321.
The public sector employs 640,700 people who get an average wage of CZK 35,437.
CMKOS is an umbrella organization comprising 30 unions with about 300,000 members.