In Business News: the Czech crown reached a record high against the euro this week; the average gross monthly wage grew to almost 19,000 crowns in the third quarter; the anti-monopoly office has imposed a fine of over 8 million dollars on Cesky Telecom for abusing its market dominance; and the prices of gas, electricity and heating are set to rise from the start of next year.
The Czech Labour Code is to be amended - but the question is how? Will it serve the rights of the employer or the employee? The changes proposed by the senior ruling coalition party, the Social Democratic Party, and passed through the first reading in the lower house of Parliament, uphold the authority of trade unions. That, say the opposition Civic Democrats and the two junior ruling coalition parties the Christian Democrats and the Freedom Union, is unacceptable: by making it difficult for employers to let go of unproductive staff and employ
Around 30,000 trade union members demonstrated in Prague on Saturday in support of new labour legislation proposed by the ruling Social Democrats. The amendment, passed in a first reading in the lower house, has been criticised by some experts as well as government coalition members and the opposition right-of-centre Civic Democrats. The smaller parties in government would like to curb the influence of trade unions set-out in the amendment, while trade unionists want no further changes. The draft has also said to contradict the Constitution in a number of areas, a charge denied by the unions.
Thousands of trade union workers will be gathering in Prague this Saturday to protest against an amendment to a proposed new Labour Code. The bill went through the first reading in parliament but employers and some politicians have been calling for an amendment, fearing it gives trade unions too much power. The trade unionists will be travelling to Prague in hundreds of buses and a special train.
When Czech politicians were convincing Czech voters to say "yes" in the referendum two years ago on joining the EU, one of the things they promised was that Czech workers would be able to find a job anywhere in the European Union. But with the exception of the United Kingdom, Ireland and Sweden, all "old" EU members introduced temporary legal barriers against a feared influx of workers from the east. No such thing has materialised in the three countries that allowed free movement of labour and that's one of the reasons why Czech politicians are
The minimum wage in the Czech Republic will be increased by 6.6 percent as of next January, a spokesperson for the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry said on Thursday. The ministry plans further increases in July when the minimum wage is to grow by another 6.2 percent, according to a government proposal. The minimum monthly wage will be 7,660 crowns (or 311 US dollars), compared to the current 7,185 crowns. The minimum hourly pay is to grow to 45.20 crowns (or just under two US dollars). After the second increase, the minimum wage is to reach the equivalent of 330 dollars.
Union leaders say they are planning extensive demonstrations in Prague in support of a new Labour Code draft submitted by the Social Democrats, promising significant changes to the labour laws. Union leaders say they will try to drum up support of at least 25,000 in favour of the bill, which has drawn criticism from businesses and entrepreneurs. Areas of contention include greater jurisdiction by unions, and stricter conditions for laying-off employees. The ruling Social Democrats agreed on the bill at the government level despite objection by the Christian Democrats. The draft has yet to be passed in Parliament.
Doctors around the country closed down their offices on Thursday in
protest at late payments from the state-run health insurance company VZP.
Around a fifteen hundred demonstrators gathered in front of the Health
Ministry building in Prague in support of the private doctors' strike. The
doctors were joined in the demonstration by pharmacists and dentists, and
by some politicians from the right-wing opposition Civic Democrats.
During the protest there were calls for the resignation of the Health Minister Milada Emmerova, who was blamed for the current cash-flow crisis. Talks between Mrs Emmerova and doctors are to continue after a two-hour meeting on Thursday afternoon ended in deadlock.
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