Interior Minister Ivan Langer has promised to draft an amendment to the controversial new civil service law. Addressing police officers and firemen who staged a protest against the law outside the Interior Ministry on Monday, Minister Langer said he was aware of the complications that the new law had caused and promised that the ministry would start working on a proposed amendment as soon as possible. The new bill could be presented to Parliament by the end of the year and could take affect in 2008, the minister said. The law has slashed the salaries of police officers, firemen, prison guards and customs officers by making them work 150 hours overtime for free and scrapping bonuses for night-shifts, holidays and weekends. Hundreds of officers have left the ranks of the police since it went into effect at the beginning of this year. Minister Langer said that he would try to compensate the decrease in wages and would discuss the proposed amendment with experts.
Police officers and firemen are due to hold a demonstration outside the Interior Ministry on Monday to protest against changes in their working conditions. A new civil service law which went into affect at the start of this year has reduced their overtime for working at weekends, public holidays and at night. Under the new law officers only get paid for working overtime after putting in 150 hours for free. Hundreds of officers have left the ranks of the police as a result. Close to 12,000 officers have signed a petition against the law.
According to a poll conducted by the STEM agency three quarters of Czechs believe that there is discrimination on the Czech labor market. Respondents said age, pregnancy and health were decisive factors in this respect. The feeling that discrimination takes place was stronger among women than men. Out of 1200 respondents polled, 87 percent said people were discriminated against because of their age, 75 percent cited pregnancy and motherhood and 72 percent mentioned physical and mental handicaps. Other reasons given were race and sexual orientation.
A recent industrial dispute at carmaker Skoda Auto - one of the Czech Republic's largest and most successful firms - has not only made headline news in this country, but also taken up many column inches in the international press. A pay rise of just under 13 percent, which Skoda workers managed to negotiate with their employer, has led to speculation abroad that the Czech Republic may be about to price itself out of the foreign investment market.
Czech trade unions have come out resolutely against the government's planned fiscal reforms: the leadership of the CMKOS trade union umbrella organisation announced on Friday that reforms proposed by the current centre-right cabinet would worsen conditions for average or below-average income earners. The group's chairman, Milan Stech, also said that the government's plans would not help cut the public budget deficit, and said a broader public debate and political consensus was needed on the issue. It was in early April that Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek's government first presented its draft package of reforms aimed at lowering taxes and cutting public spending. The draft is set to be debated in the Chamber of Deputies this June.
In business news this week: management and trade unions at Skoda Mlada Boleslav resolve long-standing pay dispute. The state-controlled Czech airline CSA reports another rise in passenger traffic in the first quarter and, the world-famous fashion brand Giorgio Armani may have its suits made at Czech clothing producer OP Prostejov.
The threat of further strike action at the Skoda Auto car plant in Mlada Boleslav has been averted after management and unions agreed a deal on pay. Most of Skoda's 24,000 workers took part in a day-long staggered strike on Wednesday, after months of inconclusive talks. That led to fresh negotiations which produced a compromise, under which wages will rise by 12.7 percent until the end of 2008. The crisis at Skoda Auto - owned by Germany's Volkswagen - has been resolved, but what does it mean for the Czech economy? We asked Ales Michl, an analyst
Trade unions and management at Skoda Auto have reached agreement in a long-running pay dispute at the car-making plant. Workers' unions announced on Wednesday that they had accepted an offer of a pay increase of 12.7 percent beginning from April 1st next year. Employees will also receive a once-off payment of 2500 Czech crowns or just over 120 US dollars in July 2008. Earlier, thousands of Skoda workers had joined in a strike action on Tuesday in protest at their wages. No cars were produced at the factory in the course of the day and the company's losses were estimated to be 55 million crowns (or over 2.5 million US dollars). The deal now means that a threatened follow-up strike on Thursday will no longer go ahead.
Workers at the Skoda Auto car plant in Mlada Boleslav have gone on strike
in demand of higher pay. Thousands of employees downed tools for two and a
half hours during the first shift of the day, with later shifts planning to
do likewise. The strike means no cars will be produced at the factory on
Tuesday; the company says it expects to lose 55 million crowns (over 2.5
million USD). On Friday Skoda Auto management withdrew an offer of a
13-percent pay rise for employees, and returned to an earlier proposal to
increase wages by 7.5 percent.
Figures released on Monday showed that March was the most successful month in the history of the company. Last month Skoda Auto recorded over 60,000 vehicles sold, which represented a year-on-year rise of almost 15 percent. Over half of sales in the first quarter of this year were in western Europe.
Car manufacturer Skoda Auto has withdrawn its offer of a salary increase of 13 percent for workers, ahead of a planned employee strike on Tuesday. The offer was originally rejected by workers' representatives pushing for a rise in wages that would be pegged to inflation and company profits. Skoda has now returned to an earlier proposal offering a 7.5 percent rise next year and an additional 3 percent the year after that. With the two sides failing to reach a deal, the strike now appears unavoidable. 26,000 people are employed at Skoda Auto.
Jana Ciglerová: Americans say their lives are fantastic, Czechs say everything is terrible – neither is true
Study: Demand for new flats in Prague set to keep outstripping supply
“There is good, better and then there is the USSR.” – New book depicts life in communist Czechoslovakia through memories of people who experienced it
CzechTourism head hints attracting tourists no longer agency’s main goal
“The only solution is political” – Organisers of major anti-government protests in Czechia announce plans for the future