Czech courts do not have the authority to rule on the terms of employment of clerics, the Constitutional Court has found. In an 18-year-long case regarding two pastors’ termination of employment with the Czechoslovak Hussite Church, the court found that the Czech judiciary would be violating the autonomy of the church if it were to rule on such matters. The verdict overrules those of the lower and the Supreme Court and return. The friars claim that their termination was inconsistent with the rules of the church and the Labour Code and are demanding millions of crowns in back-pay.
The prosecution of five Prague City Hall employees, suspected of having
broken the law on public tenders in the Opencard case, will continue after
a complaint by the defence was dismissed as insubstantial by the state
prosecutor. Charges against four of the five have since been broadened.
five suspects were charged by the police in August: they are suspected of
having signed several disadvantageous contracts with providers and of
breaking the law on tenders in the choice of the company Haguess to
the city travel and service cards after the firm failed to meet all
Prague’s Opencard serves as a transit pass and is also used for other services such as the borrowing of library books. Critics charge that the project – which cost more than 800 million crowns – was drastically overpriced.
The Czech anti-monopoly watchdog on Thursday launched a review of a tender for new welfare cards, a project initiated by the country’s Labour and Social Affairs Ministry. In an official letter to the opposition Social Democrat party, which asked for the tender to be reviewed, the anti-monopoly authority expressed concern that the ministry might have breached the law in organizing the tender. The ministry now cannot conclude any contracts related to the project until it is cleared by the anti-monopoly authority. The government is planning to issue the new cards to welfare recipients in 2012 as part of its social reform.
The unemployment rate in September dropped from 8.2 to 8.0 percent in September, according to new statistics released on Monday, amounting to 475,115 jobless. The news was released by the Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs. According to the numbers, almost 40,000 jobs in different sectors are available. The unemployment figures show a higher jobless rate among recent graduates than last year: in September 2010 they ranked 35,313 strong; this year the number is more than 7,000 higher. Forty-three rural districts around the country suffer higher unemployment rates than the national average, among them Most (15.7 percent), Bruntál (14.2), and Děčín (13.2 procent).
Jakub Mareš is one of the operators of the Hub, Prague’s biggest co-working centre. They are a new kind of shared working environment where people whose main tool is their notebook computer can rent a desk for as many hours a week as they need. Located in a former printing factory in the Smíchov district, the Hub features a large open office space, meeting rooms, a bar and lounge area, and even a summer terrace. When we spoke there recently, I asked Mareš (30) why he and his colleagues had launched the project in Prague, and why now.
At a meeting on Sunday of Finance Ministry officials, employers’ representatives and union leaders, the Finance Ministry proposed an increase in tax breaks on individual pension savings. The respective deductible item should increase from 24,000 to 30,000 crowns a year, a labour union leader said. The ministry hopes this would make more people opt for early retirement. However, both the employers and union leaders disagree with the plan; they believe that people with demanding jobs should be primarily entitled to early retirement and their individual pension savings should be given even higher tax breaks.
The Czech government’s pilot bond issue is sold out weeks ahead of deadline; long-term unemployment rate drops in the second quarter of 2011; the budget deficit reaches almost 80 percent of 2011 projected figure; next year’s state budget draft proposes public service job cuts; dozens of solar power companies demand compensation from Czech government.
A booth on Prague’s Jungmann Square is making people stop and stare. Individuals walk inside, close the door and yell at the top of their lungs – to come out smiling moments later, as someone else takes their place. What you hear there is not a frustrated employee letting off steam after a bad day at work –it’s a voice raised in support of fair trade and making companies observe human rights and give people decent work conditions in countries where it is easy to abuse them. The Czech NGO Na Zemi has launched a campaign to raise awareness of how
The most powerful Czech trade union, KOVO, has lent its support to a public protest of government reforms. The metalworkers’ union, which brings together nearly 1000 business and 100,000 members, decided on Wednesday to join a Prague demonstration set for October 22 on Náměstí Republiky. Union chairman Josef Středula says their involvement will be active, rather than symbolic, and that transportation would be organised to being members to the capital from Northern Moravia. The unions are opposed to policy reforms involving pensions, taxes and social welfare that they believe punish dutiful citizens by making them pay more. The protest has also received the support of the main confederation of trade unions.
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