Money problems in the Czech health sector appear to have reached a head. Hundreds of private GPs across the country closed their offices for a one day strike on Thursday, ignoring an appeal from the Prime Minister for them to be patient for a while longer. Doctors say the cash flow problem is worse than ever and late reimbursements from insurance companies are threatening their livelihood.
On the eve of Thursday's scheduled doctors' strike, Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek called on the private practitioners to cancel their strike. After Wednesday's negotiations with health insurance companies, Mr Paroubek said he expected some accommodating steps from them, too. Private doctors in the Czech Republic are going to strike on Thursday over chronically late payments from the state-run insurance company VZP.
The United Kingdom is one of only three old EU countries that opened their labour markets to the citizens of new member states after last year's enlargement. According to UK statistics, some 15,000 Czechs have registered for work in the United Kingdom since accession in May 2004. Many have found a job to their satisfaction but there are also plenty of those who have fallen prey to bogus job agents.
Eleventh-hour negotiations by Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek have failed to avert private doctors' plans to strike over chronically late payments from the state-run insurance company. A working group of officials from the Health Ministry and the insurer were to meet on Wednesday to hammer out a solution, but associations of private practitioners expect little to come of it, and their members intend to shut down their surgeries on Thursday.
The Senate will convene a public hearing about proposed changes to the labour law on Tuesday. A major point of contention relates to severance pay. Workers unions want to keep in place a provision requiring an employer to give three months notice and pay two months' severance pay. Employers' associations say the requirement is too costly and leads to an inflexible workforce.
General practitioners will hold a one day strike on Thursday, October 6th in protest against the poor payment morale of health insurance companies. The General Practitioners Association will make known its demands to the Prime Minister within the next few days. Private physicians have long called for changes in the system of financing, saying that long delays in payments are threatening their livelihood. The Prime Minister has called a meeting with health insurance companies and Health Minister Milada Emmerova for Monday.
Private physicians have announced they will go on a one day strike in protest of the poor payment morale of some health insurance companies, in particular the leading insurance company VZP. Payments allegedly arrive three to six months after they are due and physicians say the constant delays are endangering their livelihood. The one day strike is to take place sometime within the next fortnight and on the given day emergency medical care should be provided by hospital wards.
The cabinet has approved a controversial new Labour Code draft submitted by Social Democrat Labour and Social Affairs Minister Zdenek Skromach. The coalition Christian Democrats came out against the bill, while the smallest coalition party, the Freedom Union, abstained from the vote. The Christian Democrats said they would vote for the draft if sections regarding powers of trade unions were removed. The draft will now go to the Lower House, where the Social Democrats are likely to appeal to the Communist Party for support. T he current Labour Code has been in force since 1966. In the last fifteen years there have been dozens of amendments added, with experts say the code has become too complicated and unclear. If the draft passes in Parliament and is signed by the President, it will be the biggest change in labour legislation since 1990.
Talks between representatives of the government, the trade unions and employers broke down on Thursday when the latter two groups walked out, saying they were dissatisfied with the government's approach to joint negotiations. The unions and employers say they received documents at the last minute, or after they had already been approved by the government. They have called for an extraordinary meeting of the tripartite, which they want Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek to attend.
Unemployment went up by one decimal point in August, according to
Labour Ministry figures published on Thursday. The number of people
looking for work rose to just over half a million, or 8.9% of the
workforce. The chief economist of Raiffeisenbank in Prague, Pavel
Mertlik, said that despite the increase, the figure was encouraging.
With those leaving school entering the job market, August is
traditionally the worst month of the year.
Inflation figures have also been published, showing that the year-on-year rate for August remained unchanged at 1.7%. According to the Czech Statistics Bureau rises in fuel prices were matched by a fall in the price of some foodstuffs. Consumer prices remained at July levels.
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