Around 85 percent of Czechs believe that some population groups are discriminated against on the labour market, according to a new poll by the STEM agency released on Tuesday. Nearly 90 percent of those who took part in the survey said age was the most frequent cause of discrimination, followed by health conditions and pregnancy; some 64 percent of those polled also cited race and ethnicity. The poll suggests that religious beliefs and political convictions, along with sexual orientation, were among less frequent causes of discrimination on the labour market.
The government has decided to uphold its diesel fuel tax rebate program for Czech farmers until the year 2014, Prime Minister Petr Nečas said on Monday. However, rebate conditions will become less lucrative for farmers starting next year, when agricultural workers will only be able to claim 40 percent of their diesel fuel expenses back, as opposed to the current rate of 60 percent. Originally, the government had planned to discontinue the program in 2013; farmers protested by slowing down traffic.
According to a fresh survey by the Milward Brown agency, students of Czech secondary schools believe that there are three main problems in the Czech Republic. The poll found that the majority of the 1100 respondents believe the relationship between mainstream Czechs and Romanies is especially problematic; unemployment and politics in general were also cited as factors that make life in this country more difficult. Commenting on the result, sociologist Ivan Gabal said that Czech secondary school students are even more rigid and prejudiced towards the Romany minority than most adults. Frustration with politics is also on the rise and an increasing number of students would vote for radical parties. Some 12 percent would give their vote to the far-right Workers’ Party for Social Justice, while 13 percent would cast their ballot in favor of the Czech Pirate Party, the survey found.
The Finance Ministry has approved members of the Czech Philharmonic receiving monthly raises of up to eleven thousand crowns. A total of forty million crowns needed for the salary adjustments will be paid from the Culture Ministry’s budget. Members will thus receive salaries averaging around 40,000 crowns per month. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek backed the move as necessary to guarantee the continuation of the Philharmonic’s high quality. The National Theatre has also requested a boost in salaries; there, no decision has been taken yet.
Demonstrators gathered outside of two government ministries on Tuesday to protest against government reforms and austerity measures. The all-day happening (which included outdoor concerts, theatre and public debate) was organised by student activists and union reps behind the Stop the Government movement. Already the event, the first of five planned over the next two weeks, has drawn criticism from the prime minister.
In Business News this week: Czech government approves austerity measures but might run into problems securing EU funds; PM Nečas speaks of the consequences a Greek exit from the eurozone would have on the Czech Republic; the biggest Czech betting firm Tipsport buys its competitor; Czechs smoke less and most of them want a ban on smoking in public spaces; Czechs lie in their CVs more than other nations.
The government’s decision to remove tax rebates on fuel and to introduce a consumption tax on wine was behind a nation-wide farmers’ protest held on Wednesday. Farmers brought out around 2,000 heavy farm vehicles such as tractors and harvesters on 185 roads across the country to deliberately slow traffic. The Association of Czech Farmers, which argues that the move will strip Czech farmers of their competitiveness within the EU, has warned that more protests will take place in the coming weeks and months.
Czech trade unions along with members of several dozen NGOs are staging an anti-government protest in Prague on Tuesday. The activists are protesting against the reforms and austerity measures of the centre-right Czech government; they are marching from the unions’ headquarters in Žižkov towards the seat of the government across the river. The police have closed several throughways in the centre of the capital due to the protest. The rally is expected to end by 3 PM. Union leaders also announced no major protests were planned until the end of June.
Opposition groups on Monday announced details of their protest against the government’s austerity measures planned for May 22. Members of trade unions and several dozen NGOs, associated in the Stop the Government group, will stage a march through the capital that will end in front of the government building. The activists are also planning several other events including the occupation of several ministerial buildings which should take place in May and June while Czech trade unions are considering a large-scale strike later this month.
Czech mothers on average earn less than women without children, while fathers earn more than men without families, according to a new survey by the Central European Labour Studies Institute released on Sunday. The inequality is most evident in the age group of 30 to 39 where women without children make nearly 6,000 crowns less than those with children. The differences between salaries of those with and without children are higher in Prague than in other regions, according to the survey in which some 13,000 people took part.
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