Russia’s Evraz sells Vítkovice steel works for 5.7 billion crowns
The Russian Evraz group has sold its Czech plant Vítkovice Steel. Its new owners, a group of investors including Martinley Holdings, Nabara Holdings, Vitect Services, Hayston Investments and Dawnaly Investments, paid 278 million US dollars, or over 5.7 billion Czech crowns, for the plant, a spokesman for Vítkovice Steel said, adding that the investors are planning to expand the company’s position as an independent player on the market with rolled products. With 1,100 employees, Vítkovice Steel is the Czech Republic’s third largest metalworking firm. It was acquired by the Evraz group in 2005 for 285 million dollars.
Statistics reveal a significant gender gap in pay, according to a report by the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry. The figures show that both in the private and public sector women make on average 17 percent less than men in similar positions. The gap is reportedly widest in the 40 to 50 age bracket, where women make on average 23,000 crowns a month, while men make on average 31,000 crowns.
An inter-ministerial team will draft up measures to tackle the record high Czech unemployment levels, the minister of labour and social affairs, Michaela Marksová-Tominová told the news agency ČTK on Sunday. The team will include experts from the ministries of labour and social affairs, education and industry and trade, according to the minister who presented the outlines of her plan to President Miloš Zeman at the weekend. With nearly 630,000 jobless people, the unemployment levels reached a record high in January.
New numbers released by the Czech Social Security Administration have revealed that at the end of last year the Czech Republic had roughly 477,000 pensioners who had taken early retirement. That includes a marked pension cut of 1,160 crowns less per month. The number of early retirees has also tripled since the year 2000.
The number of self-employed people decreased by 17,000 to 977,000 last year, according to figures by the Czech Social Security Administration. In 2012, the number of entrepreneurs dropped by 8,000. The highest numbers of self-employed people were registered in Prague with 167,000, followed by the Central Bohemia and Moravia-Silesia regions. Self-employed people and small companies with up to nice employees account for 95 percent of all Czech firms and employ over a third of the country’s total workforce, the Czech News Agency reported.
The Czech average wage decreased by 484 crowns (or 1.8 percent) in the fourth quarter of 2013 to 26,637 crowns the Czech Statistics Office revealed Tuesday; adjusted for inflation, real wages fell by 2.9 percent. Inflation reached 1.1 percent over the same period. The full-year average wage was 25,128 crowns per month. According to the bureau, the income of two-thirds of Czech employees earn lower than the average wage: 80 percent of employees earn between around 10,500 crowns to some 43,000 crowns per month.
Statistics reveal that women who go on maternity leave find it hard to return to their former jobs and face what labour market experts call hidden forms of discrimination. Despite government incentives many Czech firms avoid employing young mothers and their former employers often refuse to grant them part-time jobs. Consequently the Czech Republic has one of the highest unemployment rates of mothers in Europe.
The unemployment rate in February remained unchanged from January’s 8.6 percent while the number of job seekers dropped by 0.6 percent to roughly 625,000; the amount of job vacancies, however, grew, the Czech Employment Office said. February often sees high unemployment figures, but the office said this year’s mild winter had had a positive effect. The unemployment figure is expected to drop in the coming months due to seasonal jobs.
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