Czech Post facing court action over alleged discrimination in salaries

Photo: Filip Jandourek

The state-owned Czech Postal Service faces court action over alleged discrimination in salaries. Employees in Moravia say they will sue the company after finding out that they make on average 3,000 crowns a month less than their Prague counterparts.

Photo: Filip Jandourek
Postal service workers in Moravia are up in arms after discovering that the company has been what they call “short charging” them for years. Trade union leaders claim to have acquired reliable information on company salaries according to which postal workers in the eastern part of the country make on average 3,000 crowns less a month than their Prague counterparts in the same position. For instance a Czech postal service worker employed as a driver in Prague allegedly makes 22, 329 crowns while his counterpart in Moravia only makes 19,210 crowns a month.

460 Czech Post employees in Brno, Olomouc and a number of other cities say that unless the situation is rectified immediately and they get a lump sum compensating them for their losses over the past three years they will take the matter to court.

The management of Czech Post has admitted that salaries in different regions may differ depending on performance, but a court case could present a big problem since the Labour Code prohibits one company paying different salaries for the same work.

The company says it is prepared to negotiate with trade union representatives, but they are extremely sceptical about reaching a deal saying that when they brought up the issue months ago the management dismissed the complaint.

However the threat of court action could put things in an altogether different light. Levelling out the differences in pay would cost Czech Post an estimated 2 billion crowns, which the company with 30,000 employees, says it can’t afford at present. Last year it had a profit of 241 million pre-tax. If the 460 employees who are threatening to take the case to court win, it would have to fork out half a billion crowns, but it is almost certain that such a ruling would set a precedent and encourage workers in other regions to follow suit. Now some trade union organizations are suggesting that they would be happy with a gradual levelling out of salaries for employees in all the regions.