Teachers to get 15 percent pay rise from November

From November Czech teachers will get a pay rise of 15 percent while other public sector staff will receive 10 percent more, the PM said on Monday.

Bohuslav Sobotka,  photo: Khalil Baalbaki
The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, emerged from a government meeting on Monday morning with the news that the unions had been waiting to hear: From the start of November, the country’s teachers will see their monthly pay packets swell by 15 percent, while other public sector workers will be 10 percent better off.

Last week both teachers unions and the national Confederation of Trade Unions announced they were going on strike alert in order to put pressure on the coalition for just such salary rises.

Mr. Sobotka explained to journalists where the additional funding would be found.

“By the end of September we will discuss the relevant government mechanisms under which we will implement these pay-scale increases. I would like to add also that another element of these mechanisms will be to increase the salaries of nurses and doctors in hospitals. In their case, we have agreed on a 10-percent pay-scale rise. Of course, these increases will come in, as every year, on January 1. That’s because they are part of a pay declaration and because of the method by which the health sector is financed.”

Pavel Bělobrádek, the Christian Democrats’ deputy premier for science and research, told Czech Television that the extra cash would come from Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs chapters and the unused expenditures of other government departments.

The amount required will correspond to around one-quarter of those undrawn-on expenditures and should reach around CZK 10 billion, Mr. Bělobrádek said.

Photo: Jana Šustová,  Radio Prague International
Mr. Sobotka said that after drawing on savings this year the state would set aside CZK 23 billion or CZK 24 billion to cover the increased public sector salaries in 2018.

In conversation with union representatives outside the Office of the Government on Monday morning even the ANO minister of finance, Ivan Pilný, who had previously questioned how they could be financed, supported the pay rises announced later.

Coalition talks on next year’s draft budget are set to continue, with the plan due to be presented to the employers and unions in a week’s time. The government is obliged by law to submit a draft budget to the lower house by the end of September.

The Czech Republic’s universities have also been calling for increased funding and the country’s rectors have trailed a protest Week for Education at the start of October.

The coalition did not deal with that issue on Monday but will return to it in the coming days, Deputy PM Bělobrádek said.