In recent years, computer skills have gone from being a great asset to a basic requirement, and nowadays it's very hard to get a job if you are not computer literate. While more and more people can use computers, employers in the Czech Republic complain that many job applicants still do not know how to write a document or create a simple table on computers.
Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has repeated that his government will not bow to pressure from trade unions to water down planned public finance reforms. Mr Spidla made the comments on Monday during a visit to Brno, two days after around 15,000 trade union members demonstrated in the centre of Prague against the planned reforms. The government says it is willing to listen to proposals put forward by "its social partners" before submitting the final draft to parliament, but will not abandon the reform package. The government insists the reforms are essential to prepare the Czech economy for eventual adoption of the euro.
On Saturday thousands of trade union members from all corners of the Czech Republic converged on Prague for the biggest workers' protest seen in the city for six years; some estimates said up to 20,000 took part. The unions are fiercely opposed to planned government cutbacks intended to address the country's record budget deficit. However, after a meeting on Sunday, the leaders of the three parties in the governing coalition said they would make only small changes to their planned reforms.
Photos of trade union members at Saturday's demonstration against the government's public finance reform plan are featured on all the front pages today, with all dailies looking into how much the government is willing to react to their demands. Internationally, it is Sweden's referendum on the adoption of the Euro - 56% voted against the single European currency, and the released photo of the possible murderer of Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh that also make the headlines.
Union leaders say the reforms - which include plans to cut sickness benefit and pensions - will hit the poorest members of society. The government insists the reforms must go ahead, saying budget cuts are necessary to prepare the Czech economy for eventual adoption of the single European currency. Analysts, on the other hand, say they don't go far enough towards meeting the Maastrict criteria for adopting the euro. The Czech Republic joins the European Union in May 2004.
Thousands of trade union members have gathered in Prague to demonstrate against the government's planned public finance reforms. At least 15,000 people from across the country gathered on Prague's Letna plain on Saturday morning, before marching towards the city centre. Demonstrators carrying banners and shouting slogans marched past the government headquarters. Union leaders say the reforms - which include plans to cut sickness benefit and pensions - will hit the poorest members of society. The government insists the reforms must go ahead, saying budget cuts are necessary to prepare the Czech economy for eventual adoption of the euro.
The government-proposed package of public finance reforms is in the focus of attention again. While economists and businessmen say the reforms are not radical enough and will do little to boost the economy, trade unionists say the measures will affect the country's poorest. And that's why members of the country's two largest trade union associations will converge on Prague on Saturday to stage a massive protest against the reforms.
There is little doubt which story gets the most press in all of today's Czech papers and that is Monday's teachers' strike, the largest teachers' strike in the country's history. More than half of the Czech Republic's schools remained closed September 1st, with many children gaining an extra day of summer holidays. By contrast, the pictures in the dailies are traditional, taken at one of the schools that did open its doors - to no one less than President Vaclav Klaus. He wished first graders well, giving each a flower as they began their first
More than half of all primary and secondary schools in the country intend to join the one day token strike in protest of low wages on Monday. The Education Ministry said on Friday that it could make no more concessions, and that it had done its utmost for teachers within the government proposed cuts in spending. The Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka likewise confirmed that there could be no question of allotting extra finances for teachers' pay. Tax officials, employees of land registry and social welfare offices also intend to join the one day protest strike. Meanwhile, the leaders of the governing coalition parties are to meet with officials of the Bohemian and Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions on Monday to discuss the public finance reform and trade unions' suggestions for its modification. The Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla has warned trade unions however not to expect any major concessions.
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