Czech unemployment fell to 7.8 percent in September from 7.9 percent one month earlier, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs announced on Monday. A total 427,331 people were registered as jobless and fit to work at the end of September, the ministry said. In September 2005, unemployment stood at 8.8 percent, the ministry added. Economists had expected a slight fall in the September jobless figure due to ongoing seasonal employment and school leavers and graduates starting work. Wide regional differences in unemployment rates persist with Prague's eastern region having the lowest national figure at 2.3 percent and the northern town of Most the highest at 20.3 percent.
Petr Necas, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs has dismissed his deputy in charge of European Union and international relations, Cestmir Sajda. Mr. Necas told reporters that his decision was made on the basis of planned restructuring at the ministry, as well as dissatisfaction with the amount of money that the Czech Republic has drawn from European Union structural funds. Earlier this month, Mr. Necas dismissed three of his seven deputies, which now leaves him with a total of three deputy ministers. Mr. Sajda served as a deputy at the Ministry of Labour since the beginning of 2004.
In this week's Business News: a senior CNB official says next year's budget will be the worst and most dangerous in years; the Czech Republic faces a huge payout to a Japanese bank after losing an arbitration appeal: spending on employment policy in this country is among the lowest in the EU; a power industry figure calls for a quick decision on the building of a new nuclear power station; and the country's biggest lottery and betting company is 50 on Friday.
In Business News: average monthly wages grow by 6.9 percent - 3.9 percent in real terms; the government approves a steep rise in excise duty on tobacco products; tens of thousands of Ukrainian workers are taking the opportunity to legalise their status and escape the influence of criminal middlemen, says the country's ambassador; sales of downloads slow a continuing fall in overall music sales; the BBC changes its licence and gets to stay on the Czech airwaves; and Eurotel is now operating under the name O2.
"A friend I once lived with had a fever and couldn't go to work for three days. Our boss said 'Ukrainians do not have fevers'. That must mean that we are machines," a quote from 39 year old Ilja from Ukraine. Ilja is just one of the 50 or so non-EU Eastern Europeans who was interviewed by the Multicultural Centre in Prague as part of a study to determine how first generation immigrants, who have been living in the Czech Republic since the 1990s are faring on the Czech labour market.
The biggest Czech steel producer, Mittal Steel Ostrava, and a subsidiary seek to cut around 1,000 posts from their combined workforce of 9,280, the group said Friday. An incentives package that encourages workers to quit the parent company and its Vysoke Pece Ostrava subsidiary is part of an ongoing restructuring aimed at increasing productivity at Mittal Steel's Czech operations, it added. The company's personnel manager Jiri Gwozdz said the company has still not achieved the productivity of Western European companies or even the European average. Mittal Steel Ostrava is 70.67 percent owned by Netherlands-based Mittal Steel, the biggest steel producer worldwide, while the remainder is held by the Czech government.
In Business News: the number of applicants per job stands at 5.2, the lowest figure for eight years; the country's biggest steelworks is to let 1,000 workers go, with more redundancies likely to follow; domestic car-production was up a phenomenal 85 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2006; the average size of apartments which received planning permission in May was a full 25 percent bigger than the year before; and Czech bookmakers report June was their best month ever, thanks to the World Cup.
The country's leading trade union organization has slammed the centre-right coalition agreement signed by the Civic Democrats, Christian Democrats and the Greens, saying that the programme outlined would benefit the rich and hurt the poor and middle-classes. The head of the Confederation of Czech and Moravian trade unions, Milan Stech, said that the agreed on tax reform would hurt not only family budgets but possibly local budgets as well, since there was no indication of how the state budget would compensate for lower tax revenues.
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