Regional authorities in Ostrava have said they will halt preparations to house a new 1.2 billion dollar Hyundai car plant at an industrial zone if landowners there continue to block the sale of property at the proposed site. As of Friday morning, four of the six remaining landowners had agreed to a government land-swap and compensation deal. The South Korean carmaker Hyundai has set a deadline of year's end for the property deal to go through or it will look elsewhere to build the plant.
The Czech Republic has one of the lowest average hourly wages of the OECD countries, at 3.41 euros per hour, the daily Pravo reports, with only the Poles, Slovaks and Mexicans earning less. The Czech Republic also has some of the longest average number of working hours - 164.3 per month, the study found.
Czech wages may be among the lowest in the OECD but they are still more than twice that of European Union hopefuls like Bulgaria and Romania. Czech Labour Minister Zdenek Skromach said this week that if the "old" EU members continue to restrict access to their labour markets, the Czech Republic will be forced to do the same when the bloc expands again in 2007. Only the United Kingdom, Ireland and Sweden have no restrictions on workers from countries which joined the EU in May 2004.
A survey by the research group Intrum Justitia has found that Czech firms are the second-most chronically late payers in Europe. In the survey of seventeen countries only Portugal fared worse. The survey also found that the Czech Republic has three times the average number of cases where creditors receive no payment in bankruptcy proceeding.
The Cabinet is expected to make a final decision next week whether or not to allocate some 2 billion crowns in funding towards a new medical-research centre in Brno, in the east of the Czech Republic. The minister of finance has come out in support of the proposal, but the education minister is opposed, arguing the money would be better spent on funding existing institutions.
Former president Vaclav Havel has publicly sided with opponents of a move to extend territorial limits on coal mining. In an open letter, he appealed to the government not to destroy villages in coal-rich areas for the sake of short-term gains. A survey by the agency Factum, meanwhile, found that nearly two out of three Czechs take the opposite view, even in Northern Bohemia, which would be directly affected by extending the limits. Mining industry executives say the move could create 12,000 new jobs.
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