This week in business news: Travel Service Airlines to buy 34-percent stake in Czech Airlines; Developer Metrostav files arbitration suit against Prague over Blanka tunnel payments; Nominal average wage has risen by 322 crowns, but real wages stagnate; GDP has fallen in Q3 by less than was expected; Mining company OKD will have a new director starting January; Industrial space is the fastest growing sector of the Czech real estate market.
President Miloš Zeman has expressed support for police president Martin Červiček, who is fighting to retain his post in the wake of a legal hurdle that has left the country with two police chiefs. His predecessor Petr Lessy was dismissed on suspicion of slander, but he was reinstated by Interior Minister Martin Pecina earlier this week after a court cleared his name. Neither Červíček nor Lessy are willing to give up the post, and Mr. Červicek has indicated that the interior minister had used the opportunity to remove him after he refused to succumb to pressure to effect personnel changes at high posts.
The average monthly salary increased by 322 crowns in the third quarter to 24,836 crowns. Adjusted for inflation, this is an increase of only a tenth of a percentage point, which basically signifies a stagnation of wages. Around two thirds of people employed in the Czech Republic, though, receive a lower salary than the average, with the median being currently around 21,000 crowns. Long-term stagnation and slight decreases in real wages is leading to a decrease of household spending, which the Czech National Bank was hoping to thwart with its recent intervention against the crown.
Petr Lessy has been reinstated as president of the Czech police force – despite the fact that the post is still occupied by the man who replaced him, Martin Červíček. Mr. Lessy was returned to the position by the minister of the interior, Martin Pecina, after a Prague court ruled that criminal charges of abuse of office and slander taken against him were unfounded. Mr. Lessy will remain on holiday until the situation is resolved. Mr. Pecina said he hoped Mr. Červíček would act on earlier intimations that he would stand down of Mr. Lessy returned.
The monthly salaries of employees of state institutions will increase on average by 787 crowns, to an average salary of 24,644 crowns, according to the current budget proposal for next year. The pay hikes should cost the state an extra 4.33 billion crowns. According to the Czech Statistical Office, the average salary for the whole of the Czech Republic reached 24,953 crowns per month in the second quarter of this year. The number of state employees will most likely decrease next year by one tenth of a percent, or 514 places.
In Business News this week: household energy prices to fall markedly in New Year; poll find most firms have experience of dodgy tenders; percentage of part-time job rises – but still lags EU; Czech e-tailers mark Black Friday; more shops selling fake goods, say inspectors; and 4 percent of Czechs don’t possess mobile.
The Czech Republic has been experiencing a sort of mini baby boom for the past six or so years, with one of the first generations of well-educated Czech women deciding to put off motherhood until their thirties. These mothers, who had held high-level jobs, travelled around the world and started their own businesses before having their first child, have initially enjoyed the government-subsidized maternity leave, but for many of them this benefit turned into a burden.
The minister of labour of social affairs in the interim government in resignation, František Koníček, has filed four criminal complaints in connection with projects implemented by his predecessors, Mladá fronta Dnes reported on Saturday. Three of the projects involved Jaromír Drábek, who was minister from July 2010 to October last year, and his then deputy Vladimír Šiška, the newspaper said. One of the complaints concerns a contract to supply IT systems for social welfare payments, which was allegedly agreed without a public tender. Mr. Šiška already faced different charges over a disputed CZK 1 billion deal for a system intended to increase the efficiency of social welfare payments.
A thousand new police officers will be hired next year, the Minister of the Interior, Martin Pecina, has told reporters. Most of the fresh intake will be deployed in places where there is a threat from extremist groups stoking tensions between the majority population and the Roma minority, he said. The officers will receive special training in working in socially excluded districts. Foot patrol numbers will also be stepped up.
The anticorruption unit of the Czech police has charged two people over a public contract handed out by the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry last year, the news agency ČTK reported. The men, one of whom served as a ministry official, the other as a court-appointed expert, face charges of abuse of power and fraud, among others. Prosecutors say the men manipulated a tender to improve the system of welfare payments; if the deal had not been stopped by the anti-monopoly office, the state would suffer a loss of around one billion crowns, a spokesman for the prosecution said.
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