The rate of unemployment in the Czech Republic rose in October to 8.5%, according to figures released by the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry on Thursday. There were approximately 3,500 more people without work than in the previous month, and the number of job vacancies decreased by two tenths of a percentage point. The ministry said that the unemployed made up 6.7% of the country’s population. The main problem, according to analysts, is the low job creation rate. The Ústí nad Labem region had the highest unemployment rate in October of 13.2%, while the lowest was, traditionally, in Prague, where unemployment rate has stagnated at 4.4% for the second month in a row.
The Education Ministry responded to the proposed budget for 2013 on
Monday saying that cuts being put forward within were “impossible” and
would have to impact teachers’ salaries. The ministry’s spokesman was
reacting to cuts affecting not only next year but 2014 and
2015, amounting to a total of more than five billion crowns, ČTK
reported. School unions and academics have already slammed the bill
any suggestion that salaries would be lowered. The school
unions’ leader František Dobšík called the bill “a provocation”,
stressing that the unions had expected policies of growth or stabilisation
- not uncertainty. The unions have made clear they intend to organise
The opposition is also criticising the draft budget for 2013: Social Democrat senator and education specialist Marcel Chládek expressed the view that a government making cuts in science and research, regional education and teachers’ pay deserved “no mercy”.
Doctors’ union representatives from the Czech Republic may join forces with their colleagues in neighboring countries – Slovakia, Poland and Hungary – to stage another set of protests, similar to last year’s ‘Thank you, we’re leaving’ campaign. Mlada fronta Dnes daily reported on Saturday that doctors want to protest against similar problems as last year, but in addition to persistently low salaries, they are also criticizing plans to further privatize, and the insurance companies’ unfair practices. The unions are planning to stage a warning to the government and the Health Ministry and have doctors stop working for a few minutes on November 20th. If their demands are not met after that, union representatives are threatening massive resignations from doctors around the country, but said that this will not happen until after Christmas, so as not to complicate matters for patients during the holiday season.
The Japanese company Panasonic announced on Wednesday it will close its plant in Žatec, in northern Bohemia, and lay off some 590 workers. The firm, which launched the production of LCD panels in the plant in 2007, quoted strategic considerations as the reason. The decision to close the plant in Žatec will reportedly not affect another Panasonic operation in Plzeň.
Some 2,000 trade union members from a leading Czech mining company, Czech Coal, staged a protest outside the government building in Prague on Wednesday against a bill that will ban the expropriation of land for mining. The draft legislation has already been passed by Parliament and is to be signed into law by the president. The protesters said that the bill would lead to a decline in mining and to a loss of jobs, particularly in the depressed region of northern Bohemia. The environmental group Greenpeace however accused the protesters of promoting the interests of Czech Coal management as they did not react to massive layoffs by the firm in the past.
Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jaromír Drábek, of the TOP 09 party, officially quit the government when President Klaus on Wednesday accepted his resignation. Mr Drábek announced his resignation earlier this month in the wake of scandal surrounding his deputy whom the police charged with corruption. The TOP 09 party has proposed former senator Ludmila Müllerová for the post of labour and social affairs minister, a choice yet to be confirmed by the prime minister.
People in the Zlín region, in the east of the country, took the highest number of sick days in the country in the first nine month of the year, according to figures released by the Czech Social Security Administration on Saturday. People there took on average 57 days off due to sickness, compared to the national average of over 47 days. However, the Zlín region registered an annual decrease in both the number of sick days and the cases of sick leaves. The lowest number of sick days – 37 – was registered in Prague.
Prime Minister Petr Necas has said he wants to meet with Ludmila Mullerova in person before proposing her appointment to the post of labour and social affairs minister. The prime minister said he wanted to hear Ms. Mullerova’s plans for the ministry and debate certain problem areas before making up his mind. Ms. Mullerova, a former deputy labour minister, who served as an aide to the outgoing Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jaromir Drabek has been selected by TOP 09 as the most suitable candidate for the past.
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