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.
Leaders of the miners’ unions have reached an agreement with the management of the coal mining company OKD on a new collective contract until 2018. OKD employees called off a series of major strikes planned for the upcoming weeks. The unions threatened strikes primarily because the company was unwilling to meet their demands on employee bonuses. The agreement negotiations, which have been going on for the past 13 months, were further complicated by the austerity measures that OKD, a subsidiary of New World Resources (NWR), began introducing this year in response to a worsening situation on the coal market.
Employees of the embattled mining firm OKD have announced a series of strikes over disputes with the firm’s management related to a new collective agreement. The first four-hour strike will take place November 19; another, one-day strike is scheduled for 10 days later while a three-day strike is scheduled for early December, the leader of the company’s trade union said, adding the strikes could only be averted if the firm accepts the union’s demands. Last week, a majority of OKD workers voted in favour of the strike. Negotiations about a new, four-year collective agreement started in August; due to poor economic results, OKD wants to cut some benefits included in the current agreement. The firm is also planning to close down one of its mines, cutting around 3,000 jobs.
The number of foreigners working in Czech households is on the rise, although there are few exact statistics about this relatively unofficial economic sector. More and more Czechs hire part-time cleaners and live-in nannies from Ukraine, Belarus, the Philippines and many other countries. What happens to them behind closed doors, though, is not a topic many like to talk about. A new NGO campaign to draw attention to the rights of migrant domestic workers decided to take an unusual approach to the matter – recruiting a big-shot ad agency and a glitzy
The Czech unemployment rate in September remained at 7.6 percent, unchanged from the previous month, according to government figures released on Friday. The country’s labour offices registered over 550,000 job seekers last month, which was 377 less than in September. Compared to the same month last year, however, there were nearly 60,000 unemployed people more. Analysts say the Czech labour market has stabilized but expect a slight increase in the number of jobless people in the coming months.
The employees of the mining firm OKD on Friday voted to reject a draft collective agreement and to approve a possibility of going on strike. Some 60 percent of OKD workers took part in the vote, a prerequisite for the firm’s trade unions to declare strike. The north Moravian mining firm, part of the embattled NWR company, has come under pressure due to falling prices of coal. The draft collective agreement included a plant to cut vacation and Christmas bonuses, and conditioned a 4-percent pay rise by meeting the firm’s mining target, among other things. Earlier this year, OKD made some 250 workers redundant; the firm is also planning to close down one of its mine, a move that would cut another 3,000 jobs.
The interim prime minister, Jiří Rusnok, has ordered his ministers not to make any more dismissals of senior civil servants without his approval, Hospodářské noviny reported. Mr. Rusnok told the newspaper that stability was required. In less than four months since the caretaker cabinet was installed, ministers have replaced close to 100 deputies and managers. There has been speculation Mr. Rusnok’s team will remain in place until the New Year, when an elected government would be appointed.
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