Around half a million Czechs are currently unemployed and with roughly 50 000 vacancies, it is clear that only one in ten applicants will succeed in finding a new job. The situation is all the more difficult for people over fifty, who often look for a job in vain before reaching retirement age. According to Nikola Šimandlová of the NGO Alternativa 50+, which has just launched a new project against ageism, discriminating people on the basis of age is becoming increasingly common:
The Czech Republic’s national carrier Czech Airlines has announced layoffs in an effort to keep the troubled company afloat. The airline will let go around one third of its staff including dozens of pilots and stewards and ground personnel. The move has spurred concerns over the future of the carrier which some say could never recover.
The draft budget for next year, approved this week by the Czech government, projects a deficit of some 2.3 percent of the country’s GDP. Government officials say the budget will allow for higher public investments and hikes in public sector salaries and pensions. But critics argue the budget is unambitious, and a missed opportunity to narrow the Czech public finance deficit at a time of an economic recovery.
The government has approved a 3.5 percent increase in the salaries of public employees, effective of November. Labour and Social Affairs Minister Michaela Marksová said the government had saved up around one billion crowns in this year’s budget which was enough to pay for the increase in November and December. The government was originally planning to raise the salaries in January. The wages of some 930,000 public sector employees such as teachers, health care workers, police officers, and others, will increase by an average 730 crowns a month.
In Business News this week: Czech central bank predicts labour market improvement; Czech Republic increasingly attractive for international manufacturers; car production up by 11 pct between January and September; railway operator ČD Cargo doubles profit but loses market share; and developer Orco leaves Prague stock exchange.
The centre-left government has approved an increase in the minimal monthly wage to 9,200 crowns starting next year. The minimal wage was upped by 700 crowns. The move was strongly advocated by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka who argued that it was essential to motivate people to work rather than staying on the dole. The cabinet’s decision was unanimous despite opposition from employers. The minimal wage was last raised in August of 2013 by 500 crowns.
The national unemployment rate remained at 7.4 percent in August, the same figured registered in the third consecutive month, according to figures released by the country’s Labour Office on Monday. More than 535,000 jobs seekers were registered in that month. The jobless rate stagnated despite the fact that there were nearly 55,000 vacancies in August, some 14,000 more than in the same month previous year. The Labour Office expects that unemployment levels will stagnate or rise slightly in the coming months due to the arrivals of graduates to the labour market and the end of seasonal labour.
Government officials, trade union leaders and employers have failed to agree on a hike of minimal wage by CZK 700. Employers have opposed the Social Democratic proposal, arguing that the government and trade unions had previously agreed to a CZK 500 rise from the present 8,500 crowns to 9,000, starting from January 2015. Prime Minister Sobotka said the decision about the minimal wage was up to the government.
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