In this week’s business news: Industrial output has grown for the fourth consecutive month; The prime minister has announced that the interim government will not decide on coal mining limits; Tow more people have been charged in connection to the privatization of mining company OKD; Unemployment figures increased slightly in November; The Czech state debt has decreased in the past nine months.
A battle over opening hours at Czech stores during the holidays has continued for several years and once again the question of whether stores should close or remain open at Yuletide is being hotly debated. Some Czech union representatives want to see hours curbed so that cashiers or shop assistants can spend more time with their loved ones; critics say the matter should be left up to employers.
This week in business news: Travel Service Airlines to buy 34-percent stake in Czech Airlines; Developer Metrostav files arbitration suit against Prague over Blanka tunnel payments; Nominal average wage has risen by 322 crowns, but real wages stagnate; GDP has fallen in Q3 by less than was expected; Mining company OKD will have a new director starting January; Industrial space is the fastest growing sector of the Czech real estate market.
President Miloš Zeman has expressed support for police president Martin Červiček, who is fighting to retain his post in the wake of a legal hurdle that has left the country with two police chiefs. His predecessor Petr Lessy was dismissed on suspicion of slander, but he was reinstated by Interior Minister Martin Pecina earlier this week after a court cleared his name. Neither Červíček nor Lessy are willing to give up the post, and Mr. Červicek has indicated that the interior minister had used the opportunity to remove him after he refused to succumb to pressure to effect personnel changes at high posts.
The average monthly salary increased by 322 crowns in the third quarter to 24,836 crowns. Adjusted for inflation, this is an increase of only a tenth of a percentage point, which basically signifies a stagnation of wages. Around two thirds of people employed in the Czech Republic, though, receive a lower salary than the average, with the median being currently around 21,000 crowns. Long-term stagnation and slight decreases in real wages is leading to a decrease of household spending, which the Czech National Bank was hoping to thwart with its recent intervention against the crown.
Petr Lessy has been reinstated as president of the Czech police force – despite the fact that the post is still occupied by the man who replaced him, Martin Červíček. Mr. Lessy was returned to the position by the minister of the interior, Martin Pecina, after a Prague court ruled that criminal charges of abuse of office and slander taken against him were unfounded. Mr. Lessy will remain on holiday until the situation is resolved. Mr. Pecina said he hoped Mr. Červíček would act on earlier intimations that he would stand down of Mr. Lessy returned.
The monthly salaries of employees of state institutions will increase on average by 787 crowns, to an average salary of 24,644 crowns, according to the current budget proposal for next year. The pay hikes should cost the state an extra 4.33 billion crowns. According to the Czech Statistical Office, the average salary for the whole of the Czech Republic reached 24,953 crowns per month in the second quarter of this year. The number of state employees will most likely decrease next year by one tenth of a percent, or 514 places.
In Business News this week: household energy prices to fall markedly in New Year; poll find most firms have experience of dodgy tenders; percentage of part-time job rises – but still lags EU; Czech e-tailers mark Black Friday; more shops selling fake goods, say inspectors; and 4 percent of Czechs don’t possess mobile.
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.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague
Film about tragic fate of great Czech actress highlights communist atrocities in the 1950s