Czech Radio survey: the life of the traditional working class

Zbyněk Nyč, photo: Michaela Danelová / Czech Radio

An in-depth survey commissioned by Czech Radio suggests that Czech society is divided into six social classes that differ in terms of resources and status. The study defines two types of upper middle class, three types of lower middle class and an impoverished class. Czech Radio found a typical representative of each social class. Today we introduce a representative of the traditional working class.

Zbyněk Nyč,  photo: Michaela Danelová / Czech Radio

The traditional Czech working class, which makes up over 14 percent of the population, is part of the lower-middle class, which also includes what is known as a class of local ties (11.8 percent), and endangered class (over 22 percent).

People who fall in the traditional working class category are mostly middle-aged or older, with a slightly above- average income and some property wealth. They usually have a high-school education and a manual job.

Zbyněk Nyč with his family,  photo: Michaela Danelová / Czech Radio
Zbyněk Nyč is a typical representative of this group. The 56-year-old carpenter is self-employed and lives in a small house together with his family. His children are already grown-up, so he spends most of his free time looking after the house and the garden and working out in a gym.

For the past 15 years, Mr. Nyč has been working in the attic of a 300-year-old monastery in the town of Police nad Metují. At the moment, he is repairing the ancient rafters:

“I enjoy doing this work, because it is creative. I like touching something that was made 300 years ago and it makes me feel good to put it back in shape.”

Mr Nyč has been self-employed since 1991 and he has never regretted his decision to become his own boss. What he enjoys most, he says, is the freedom to do whatever he likes. He used to run a small firm in the past, but it has been increasingly difficult to find employees:

“I used to have around 15 employees, but at the moment, there is a shortage of labour. People prefer to work in assembly halls or car plants, because it is easier for them and they have a secure income.”

About six years ago, Mr Nyč and his family built their own house in the countryside, near the town of Náchod, in north-east Bohemia.

Zbyněk Nyč with his family,  photo: Michaela Danelová / Czech Radio
Apart from his regular visits to the gym, Mr Nyč devotes most of his free time to work around the house and the garden:

“I started building a pond and I also want to build a glass-house and an irrigation system. I have plans for at least the next 200 years. Culture doesn’t matter so much. What is important is preserving the nature.”

Mr Nyč has three adult children and three grand-children. He also has three dogs, a cat and a number of other animals, so his house in the countryside is always full of life.

“Family is the most important thing. Family is the reason I go to work. Everything I do is for the family. It’s on the top of my list.”