The Czech GDP has fallen in the second quarter of 2012; nominal salaries grew, but not as fast as consumer prices; more Czech companies are among top earners in the region; complicated hiring procedures for foreigners may discourage investors; number of personal bankruptcies has grown immensely in the first half of this year.
The Agricultural Workers Union is trying to drum up support for a two-hour general strike against government policy to take place on September 27th. The protest is aimed against the government’s austerity package which the union says will impact primarily lower income groups, families with children, pensioners and the disabled. Relations between the government and trade unions have been strained since trade unions walked out of a tripartite meeting in June. An attempt to resume talks is to be made on September 24th –just three days ahead of the planned protest.
Twenty-seven German hospitals have announced they will take part in the fourth international job fair in Prague in November of this year. In addition to head hunters the hospitals are sending Czech specialists already working in Germany to provide references with regard to work conditions and pay. In 2011 over 500 highly qualified Czech specialists sought and found work abroad getting four times the salary they receive in the Czech Republic.
Although the most recent figures from the Czech Statistical Office gave a slightly optimistic view of rising wages in the second quarter of this year, a report in the daily Lidové noviny warns that the reality is different. The inflation in the Czech Republic is increasing faster than wages, and given the rising prices of basic goods and threats of further tax increases, the Czech consumer is left less than optimistic about the future.
The real wage decreased by 1.1 percent in the second quarter of this year, according to figures by the Czech Statistical Office released on Monday. The average salary increased by 2.3 percent and reached just over 24,600 crowns; however, the real wage decreased after deducting inflation. Analysts say relatively high inflation of 3 percent along with unfavourable development on the labour market and uncertain economic outlook were the main causes of the decrease in the real wage which was higher than expected.
Several Czech NGOs including the human rights and charity group People in Need on Sunday criticized the government for not taking seriously the issues faced by foreigners working in the country as domestic workers. The NGOs said the government failed to move and ratify an international treaty which would improve the workers’ conditions. The activists dismissed the government’s argument that the numbers of foreign domestic workers are very low, less than 0.02 percent of all foreigners working in the country. Pavla Redlová from People in Need said that their real numbers were much higher, and that they often work and live in poor conditions. The international treaty dealing with the issue will next be debated in the Czech Senate.
In this week's Business News: new inflation and industrial production figures are released; the Czech postal service wins top marks in global efficacy test; unemployment climbs to 8.3%; Finance Ministry seeks to name and shame VAT avoiders; two supermarket chains fined hundreds of thousands for poor practices and foreign bidders seek D1 motorway contract.
Unemployment in the Czech Republic grew to 8.3% in July from 8.1% in June. The number of job seekers rose by just over 11,000 to nearly half a million. According to fresh statistics from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the lowest rate of unemployment was in Prague at 3.3% followed by Mlada Boleslav and Plzen; the highest was in the region of Bruntal in Northern Moravia, where there were 42 job seekers per open position last month. Unemployment benefits were granted to 18.9% of the unemployed.
Senators for the opposition Social Democratic Party will lodge a complaint with the Czech Constitutional Court if the average pension drops below 40 percent of the gross salary, the Speaker of the Senate Milan Štech told journalists on Tuesday. Senator Štech said the complaint would be based on the argument that the Czech Republic has ratified an international convention under which old-age pensions should reach at least two-fifths of gross earnings. The upper house is to debate a government bill that will reduce the growth of pensions as part of a broader austerity package.
Only around one third of Czechs leave work behind while on vacation, according to a new survey by the website onlineprace.cz released on Monday. Some 40 percent of those polled said they were available for their colleagues in emergency situations while on holiday; 16 percent said they wanted to follow developments at work no matter what.
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