Czech Post employees have joined a chain strike in demand for better wages. According to the state company’s spokeswoman, the strike has not affected services at counters, although it may delay delivery of parcels ahead of Christmas.
Around 250 Czech post employees at the company’s central sorting office in Prague’s Malešice participated in the planned strike in the early hours of Thursday and several dozen employees in Ústí nad Labem, Brno and Olomouc have joined the strike during the day, the head of the strike committee Evžen Dvorský told the Czech News Agency on Thursday.
Figures provided by Czech Post are somewhat lower; according to the company’s spokeswoman Eva Krejčí, some 84 employees have joined the protest so far.
The chain strike is to last for an hour at each facility before moving on to the next site until midnight on Thursday. The Czech Post union members recorded over 600 people on Wednesday night who said they would join the strike. They are expecting the number of protesters will rise throughout the day. According to the deputy head of the strike committee, Filip Janovský, a silent protest is also set to take place.
All three of the country’s postal trade unions have been pushing for a wage increase for workers by 2,500 crowns a month. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Interior Minister Milan Chovanec, under whose administration the state owned company falls, have described these demands as unrealistic in view of the company’s economic results. Employees have been promised a raise of just over 500 crowns a month.
The average wage in the company is currently between 22,700 and 23,000 crowns, that is more than 4,000 crowns less than the national average with many postal workers earning far below that average.
According to Czech Radio news site, several union members say Czech Post was threatening employees with fines if they joined the strike. According to Mr.Janovský, the unions received several hundred complaints over such threats. He also said the unions were considering filing charges against their employer.
Czech Post spokesman Matyáš Vitík has denied the claims, adding that Czech Post will suffer damages to the tune of millions of crowns a day due to the protests.