The unemployment rate in September dropped from 8.2 to 8.0 percent in September, according to new statistics released on Monday, amounting to 475,115 jobless. The news was released by the Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs. According to the numbers, almost 40,000 jobs in different sectors are available. The unemployment figures show a higher jobless rate among recent graduates than last year: in September 2010 they ranked 35,313 strong; this year the number is more than 7,000 higher. Forty-three rural districts around the country suffer higher unemployment rates than the national average, among them Most (15.7 percent), Bruntál (14.2), and Děčín (13.2 procent).
Jakub Mareš is one of the operators of the Hub, Prague’s biggest co-working centre. They are a new kind of shared working environment where people whose main tool is their notebook computer can rent a desk for as many hours a week as they need. Located in a former printing factory in the Smíchov district, the Hub features a large open office space, meeting rooms, a bar and lounge area, and even a summer terrace. When we spoke there recently, I asked Mareš (30) why he and his colleagues had launched the project in Prague, and why now.
At a meeting on Sunday of Finance Ministry officials, employers’ representatives and union leaders, the Finance Ministry proposed an increase in tax breaks on individual pension savings. The respective deductible item should increase from 24,000 to 30,000 crowns a year, a labour union leader said. The ministry hopes this would make more people opt for early retirement. However, both the employers and union leaders disagree with the plan; they believe that people with demanding jobs should be primarily entitled to early retirement and their individual pension savings should be given even higher tax breaks.
The Czech government’s pilot bond issue is sold out weeks ahead of deadline; long-term unemployment rate drops in the second quarter of 2011; the budget deficit reaches almost 80 percent of 2011 projected figure; next year’s state budget draft proposes public service job cuts; dozens of solar power companies demand compensation from Czech government.
A booth on Prague’s Jungmann Square is making people stop and stare. Individuals walk inside, close the door and yell at the top of their lungs – to come out smiling moments later, as someone else takes their place. What you hear there is not a frustrated employee letting off steam after a bad day at work –it’s a voice raised in support of fair trade and making companies observe human rights and give people decent work conditions in countries where it is easy to abuse them. The Czech NGO Na Zemi has launched a campaign to raise awareness of how
The most powerful Czech trade union, KOVO, has lent its support to a public protest of government reforms. The metalworkers’ union, which brings together nearly 1000 business and 100,000 members, decided on Wednesday to join a Prague demonstration set for October 22 on Náměstí Republiky. Union chairman Josef Středula says their involvement will be active, rather than symbolic, and that transportation would be organised to being members to the capital from Northern Moravia. The unions are opposed to policy reforms involving pensions, taxes and social welfare that they believe punish dutiful citizens by making them pay more. The protest has also received the support of the main confederation of trade unions.
The cabinet is to meet on Wednesday to discuss growing racial tension in the north of the country, Romany ghettos and social exclusion. Ministers are expected to debate a comprehensive strategy aimed at fighting social exclusion of Romanies in the spheres of education, housing, employment, health care and security. According to available statistics there are some 400 Romany ghettoes around the country with an estimated 80.000 inhabitants. The vast majority of adults living in them are jobless. A rise in racially motivated crime in the north of the country in recent weeks has escalated tension between the majority population and the Romany minority with calls for their eviction.
The Justice Ministry is requesting about 2.6 billion crowns for wage increases over the next three years. The gradual rises are intended for employees of courts and state prosecutors’ offices, who the ministry says receive considerably less than other state employees. The ministry’s report for last year shows that workers in the sector received around 19,500 crowns a month, or 4.500 less than average state employees, despite the fact that the positions in question often require special qualifications.
Government representatives will be holding a special tripartite meeting with employers and union reps on Tuesday to discuss the state budget for next year. Labour Minister Jaromír Drábek announced the meeting on TV Prima on Sunday and said that comments on the budget would be discussed and considered so that the government can vote on it on Wednesday. The government has only two weeks left to submit a budget proposal to Parliament. Talks have thus far been marked by disputes between the government and the employers.
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