The upper house of Parliament, the Senate, has rejected a new Labour
Code, which was pushed through the lower house by the Social Democrats
and the Communists. The opposition Civic Democrats and the two junior
ruling coalition parties the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union
say the bill threatens the flexibility of the labour market and is
unconstitutional because it gives trade unions too much power, and
makes it difficult for employers to let go of unproductive staff and
employ new people.
In November, over 25,000 members of 51 trade unions flocked to Prague to support the proposed new Labour Code in a demonstration that was the biggest that the country has seen since the Velvet Revolution sixteen years ago.
A survey by the European Union's statistics office, Eurostat, suggests that Czechs spend more time at work than any other EU citizens. While the average EU citizen works for 37.9 hours a week, Czechs spend almost 43 hours at the workplace every week. According to Eurostat, the Dutch have the shortest working hours, with 31.4 hours a week.
This week Spain, Portugal and Finland become the latest members of the "old" EU to announce they will open their labour markets to workers from the "new" Europe - the Czech Republic included. France and Italy are also said to be considering relaxing restrictions on EU newcomers. But will Czechs - so attached to their families and country cottages - be keen to take up the offer?
According to figures released by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs the unemployment rate in the Czech Republic has dropped to 9.1 percent in February from 9.2 percent in the first month of the year. The ministry's news release attributes the drop to the high number of jobless workers on government re-training programmes. The rate of unemployment continues to vary greatly across the country with a 2.6 percent unemployment rate in the Czech capital Prague and an unemployment rate of over 20 percent in the eastern parts of the country.
On Friday, some 10,000 healthcare workers rallied in Prague to protest against the policies of Health Minister David Rath. Private practitioners, dentists, pharmacists and patients' associations protested against the minister's radical reforms which they say are proving destructive for the system and dangerous for patients. Over 100,000 people signed a petition demanding David Rath's dismissal. Minister Rath belittled the protest as mere pre-election propaganda of the opposition Civic Democrats. Meanwhile, amid growing problems in the sector and
It has been 16 years since the fall of Czechoslovakia's Communist regime. The Czech Republic, once a country of emigration, has now become one of transit and immigration, with the main immigration groups coming from Ukraine, Vietnam, Slovakia, and Belarus. In 2004, the latest official statistics say, around 2.5 percent of the country's population were legal immigrants. A decade earlier, it was less than half that rate. This transformation, as well as new immigration policies brought on by the country's accession to the European Union, calls for
When the Czech Republic joined the European Union on May 1st, 2004, the doors to European Structural Funds opened. The money allotted to the Czech Republic for projects in the 2004 - 2006 period stands at nearly 457 million Euros, or roughly 14-and-a-half billion Czech crowns. No small potatoes. One of the key elements of Brussels' strategy is to promote life-long learning in order to increase citizens' chances of employment. In concrete terms, the political aim of the European Union is to eliminate marked economic and social differences within
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