The Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs is considering more regulation
of agency employment. It also wants the Labour Office to have more powers
to combat the exploitation of foreign workers, Minister Jana Maláčová
told the Czech News Agency on Friday. She said these measures were part of
a larger set that will be included in an employment bill due to be
published in the second quarter of this year.
The minister also reacted to an investigative article published by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, which reported on miserable conditions for migrant workers employed at a Czech company owned by Agrofert, a conglomerate founded by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. Ms. Maláčová said the article could act as an incentive for an investigation by labour inspectors. Mr. Babiš has said the Deutsche Welle story was ‘made up’.
While January’s unemployment rates were still the lowest since 1997, the
Labour Office reports that the number of people without work has increased
to 3.3 percent.
Analysts expected this increase due to seasonal factors. However, the numbers are higher by one decimal point than their projections indicated.
Economists do not expect another major decrease in unemployment like that seen in 2018. Furthermore, the growth in vacancies is also projected to go down this year.
Despite increases in the past two months, unemployment levels in 2019 are expected to continue being very low and to fall below 3.0 percent with the onset of spring. This trend is also expected to put further pressure on employers to increase wages.
The Supreme Audit Office has found financial irregularities at the Ministry
of Labour and Social Affairs to the tune of 737 million crowns.
The ministry reportedly erred in the process of establishing new information systems for paying out state support. Two employees have been charged in connection with the findings.
According to the ministry’s spokeswoman Barbara Hanousek Eckhardova the failings took place under the former labour minister and the present administration is trying to put things right.
Trade unionists at Severočeské Doly, a brown coal mining company owned by
state-controlled utility ČEZ, say workers have gone on strike alert over a
pay rise dispute.
A seventh round of collective bargaining held early this week failed to bring an agreement.
The unions are seeking an average pay rise of 2,000 crowns for miners and other workers at Severočeské Doly.
Prague-listed ČEZ has declined to comment on the ongoing negotiations, which began in October.
Compared to the previous month, unemployment in December rose by three tenths to 3.1 percent, with 231,500 people being out of work, the Czech Labour Office announced on Wednesday. However, unemployment numbers remained the lowest for any December since 1996 and the amount of job offers actually saw an increase.
For every 10,000 employees in the Czech Republic, there are 101 robots. This measurement, used in a recent HSBC study, places the Central European state above the world average, which lies at 74 robots. However, in the country’s neighbour Slovakia the robot population average is higher by a third. The study also claims that due to its ageing population study the Czech Republic will need to continue increasing the share of robots in its economy.
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