13-03-2001

"Czechs will enjoy better times after joining the European Union," reads a headline on the front page of MLADA FRONTA DNES. The paper writes that as an EU member, the Czech Republic is expected to catch up with Western living standards, salaries will increase and that the economy will improve as a whole. As a study on the impact of EU membership on the Czech Republic quoted by the paper reveals, Czechs have cause to be optimistic.

If the average take-home salary in the Czech Republic last year was slightly over 10,000 crowns, in 2008 it should be twice that. However, the price of goods could rise even faster, especially foodstuffs - which might indeed be up to 50 percent higher within the next eight years. But Czech people will have much higher incomes, and so won't have to worry about price rises, concludes MLADA FRONTA DNES.

According to LIDOVE NOVINY Czech private doctors say that new draft legislation proposed by the Health Ministry appears to be a return to the days of communism. Representatives of private specialists and dentists who form around one half of all the doctors in the Czech Republic, say the Health Ministry's move will likely force them to give up their incomes.

In practice, it would mean that a doctor who currently uses money obtained from patients for paying operation costs and usually keeps the rest, will in the future have to set an "adequate fixed salary" for himself and reinvest the remainder. He would also have to pay higher taxes. The chairman of the Czech Dentists' Chamber, Jiri Pekarek, told LIDOVE NOVINY that the new law could lead once again to "nationalization" and that this will return the Czech health-care system to the situation it was in before 1989.

PRAVO today devotes one whole page to bullying. It writes that in the Czech Republic, every sixth employee faces bullying and humiliation in the workplace. The paper says that while in the West, employees usually bully the company's "black sheep", in the Czech Republic they do it with the aim of getting rid of an unwanted colleague or subordinate. Often a boss threatens dismissal if an employee is not willing to come to work on Saturday or Sunday.

Jiri Jonak, who works for a civic organization called Work and Relations, says people usually accept bullying simply out of fear of loosing their job. This affects mostly women who come back to work following maternity leave and fresh school graduates, who are the most vulnerable.

And finally, back to the national census. Following heated debates about the possible misuse of the filled-in data, not everyone took it seriously. ZEMSKE NOVINY writes that there were pranksters who filled in their nationality as Eskimo, their profession - heartbreaker of young women, and that they were born in the 16th century. Most of these jokers seem to be in the Olomouc and Prerov regions in Moravia.

The spokeswoman of the Czech Statistical Office's branch in the region, Svatava Merkova, told ZEMSKE NOVINY that they had also found forms where people wrote "cosmonaut" as their profession. But, Merkova warned, these people could face a fine of up to 10 thousand crowns, and that local authorities were resolved to visiting these households once again. If people fill in nonsensical data the second time round, the case will be handed to the local authorities and the eventual fine could be much higher.

13-03-2001