Czech Republic’s trade unions demand increase in minimum wage

The Czech Republic’s trade unions are calling for an extraordinary increase in the minimum wage. Speaking at a congress of the Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions in Prague on Friday, union leader Josef Středula said monthly wages should be raised by CZK 2,000 to CZK 18,200.

According to Středula, the wage hike was necessary given the current rate of inflation, which increased by 12.7 percent year-on-year in March. He also said the unions were ready to protest, although they preferred to negotiate.

In January this year, the minimum gross monthly increased by CZK 1,000 to CZK 16,200. Along with the minimum wage, the so-called guaranteed wages, which employees receive according to expertise or responsibility, were also raised, reaching up to twice the minimum wage.

The government also increased the salaries of teachers and health workers, by two per cent and six per cent respectively, while police officers, firefighters and social services workers received an extra CZK 700 a month.

At the same time, wages of civil servants, cultural workers and non-teaching staff in the education sector have been frozen for this year. In the last quarter of 2021, the average monthly wage in the Czech Republic rose to CZK 40,135.

Following a meeting with the unions earlier in April, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said the government wanted to avoid across-the-board measures but would consider different steps to mitigate the impact of rising prices.

The congress of the largest trade union groups is being held in Prague until Sunday. Two hundred trade unionists will also elect new leadership for the next four years. Josef Středula, who has been leading the national confederation since 2014, is the only candidate for the post.