Some 100,000 Czechs are threatened with homelessness, the Czech minister of labour and social affairs, František Koníček, told reporters on Tuesday. The current homeless population of 30,000 could rise dramatically, mainly in the most vulnerable groups such as young people leaving institutional care, handicapped people, single mothers and retired people, or those who lose their jobs shortly before retiring, Mr Koníček said. The minister also outlined a strategy to curb the rising numbers of homeless people: the state should provide social housing to those threatened with losing their homes; increase the scope of social services, and provide better health care to people living in the streets.
The average salary in the Czech Republic has increased by almost 300 crowns year-on-year in the second quarter to 24,953 crowns, according to figures released by the Czech Statistical Office on Friday. The purchasing power of the Czech consumer has gotten worse, though, due to inflation. The real wages have actually gone down by 0.3 percent compared to last year. Additionally, two thirds of the population has lower than the average salary.
Czechs attach least value to jobs such as MP, cleaner, priest, secretary and journalist, suggests an annual survey conducted by the CVVM agency. By contrast, they have most respect for doctors, scientists, nurses, and university and elementary school teachers, the poll indicates. The survey asks respondents to rate 26 professions on a scale of one to 100 in terms of importance. MPs this year replaced cleaners in bottom spot.
One in three Czechs lie in their CV, but the majority of employers never bother to verify the information given, according to the outcome of a study conducted by Screening Solutions. The agency says that one in three Czechs stretch the truth in the amount of work experience they have and the responsibilities they shouldered in their previous positions. Some also lie about their education, providing their would-be-employer with a fake diploma. According to Screening Solutions 55 percent of Czech employers fail to verify the information given and if they make any attempt to get further details they rely on the references provided in the CV.
The Czech economy is slowly recovering from a long period of economic downturn but in some parts of the Czech Republic the recession is far from over. One of the worst hit areas is the north-eastern Ostrava region where more than 100,000 people are unemployed. Ostrava is now bracing for worse as some of the major employers such as coal mines and steel works are facing serious difficulties.
Trade unions have welcomed their leader Jaroslav Zavadil’s decision to run on the Social Democratic Party’s ticket in the upcoming general election. Zavadil resigned as trade union leader after accepting the Social Democrats offer for him to head the party’s Prague candidates’ list. The umbrella trade union organization Zavadil headed says he will be better able to represent their interests in high politics. Mr. Zavadil has refused to speculate on his chances in the Czech capital, which is generally known to be right-oriented. He said he would focus his campaign on seniors, families with children and the socially weaker groups of the population.
The S-Card project for electronic social benefits payments, which has so far cost the Czech state 82.54 million crowns, will cost more than five million crowns to close down, Labor Minister František Koníček said at a press conference on Tuesday. The S-Card system will be terminated gradually until through the end of next March. The more than 270,000 current holders of the S-Card will be offered to receive social benefits payments either through the post office or by transfer to their bank accounts. The project was spearheaded by the former labor minister Jaromír Drábek, who was hoping to save the ministry money on distribution of benefits, though the plan was highly criticized by politicians and the public. Last week, the lower house approved a bill that terminates the project.
The cost of outsourcing services in some Czech ministries has increased by up to 90 percent in the past two years, the Supreme Audit Office reports. An audit into the finances of the trade, environment and regional development ministries has revealed a significant increase in the use of outsourcing in all three institutions. The Audit Office says that in many cases ministries paid agencies millions of crowns to do work that should rightly have been done by ministry employees. This includes drafting bills and preparing tenders for which the ministries have teams of specialists in respective departments.
President Miloš Zeman named Pavel Rychetský, Ludvík David and Kateřina Šimáčková to the Constitutional Court in a ceremony at Prague Castle on Wednesday. Justice Rychetský, who was first appointed to the Czech Republic’s highest court in 2003, will continue to serve as its chairman. The other two justices will sit on the court for the first time. With Wednesday’s appointments, the 15-member court is now complete.