News Teachers’ unions criticise government plans to freeze salaries while increasing pay of other public servants
Teachers’ unions have criticised a government plan to freeze their salaries next year while increasing the pay of other public sector workers. Union representatives called for an increase in the overall amount allocated for teachers’ wages and said they wished to discuss their demands with the minister of finance, Andrej Babiš, and the prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka. The programme for government had promised an increase in teachers’ salaries, which last year reached an average of just under CZK 26,000 a month. The unions also want other employees working in the education sector to get a pay rise.
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A man convicted of last year’s murder of an influential Social Democrat politician has been sentenced to 17.5 years in prison. The court said that the man, a former army officer, gunned down Roman Houska in front of his home in the northern city of Ústí nad Labem in what looked like an execution, and rejected the shooter’s claims that he acted in self-defence. Media reports described the killing as a contract murder but the court said no motive had been established; however, if new evidence emerges, the authorities will act accordingly, the judge said.
Top Czech tennis player Petra Kvitová lost to Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 2-6 3-6 in the group stage of the WTA Finals in Singapore on Friday, and has been eliminated from the event. Kvitová went ahead at the start of both sets but lost her lead after a series of errors and poor serving. The 24-year-old Czech said she was exhausted but would be in shape for the Czech Fed Cup team’s tie against Germany in Prague next month.
Czech Romany musician Eugen Horváth died on Friday at the age of 74, the Museum of Romany Culture in Brno said. The Slovak-born Horváth, known as Janko, came from a renowned musical family, and learned the play the violin at an early age. In 1969 formed his own cimbalom band which recorded several albums including the 1992 record Gypsy Weeping.
The Czech Finance Ministry has lowered its forecast for this year’s GDP growth to 2.4 percent, down from its previous estimate of 2.7 percent. The ministry said the forecast was cut due to revisions of the country’s economic growth in the previous quarters as calculated according to a new European methodology, known as ESA 2010. The ministry expected the economy to grow by 2.5 percent in the next two years, mainly fuelled by domestic consumption.
Czech MPs on Friday voted to approve the government’s civil service bill, overturning the president’s veto of the legislation. The bill should depoliticize public administration, and overhaul rules for the employment of public servants. However, the president had earlier warned he would file a complaint with the Constitutional Court over the bill if it is approved. Mr Zeman criticized, among other things, the fact that the legislation formally introduced posts of politically appointed deputy ministers. A civil service bill was first adopted in 2002 as a prerequisite for the country’s accession to the EU but has never been implemented.
Trade unions at the Czech national carrier Czech Airlines have cancel a strike planned for next Thursday after they reached a deal with the firm’s management. Earlier this week, the troubled firm announced salary cuts and massive layoffs; some 170 of the airline’s 400 cabin crew members are set to lose their jobs under the plan. After negotiations with the trade unions, the management promise to “limit the impact” of the restructuring. However, the agreement will not affect the basic features of the plan, Václav Řehoř, the head of Czech Airlines’ mother company, Czech Aeroholding, said.
Five-year-old British cancer patient Ashya King received a final dose of
proton beam therapy on Friday, concluding his six-week long treatment at
Prague’s Proton Therapy Centre, doctors at the facility said. The boy has
coped well with the treatment, and is now able to eat and sit by himself
and move his hands, the doctors said. He is now set to return to Spain for
rehabilitation. The physicians are optimistic about the boy’s prognosis
but said they would only be able to say whether the treatment has been
successful in several moths’ time.
Ashya King’s story received global attention after his parents took him from a UK hospital in August without his doctors‘ consent. They took him to Spain where they were arrested before being allowed to come to Prague for the special treatment.
The lower house of the Czech Parliament has postponed a vote on controversial child care legislation. The bill would require all nurseries, kindergartens and informal babysitting groups to comply with strict hygiene rules which critics say would threaten their existence. It would also most likely lead to the closure of some 120 outdoor nurseries known as forest kindergartens. The bill, approved by MPs last month, returned to the lower house after a presidential veto and a new vote on the legislation was on Friday. But the coalition Christian Democrats said MPs should first determine whether the bill should be amended.
Some 65 percent of Czechs consider Russia a threat for their country’s future, according to a poll by the STEM agency. Since last year’s poll that asked the same question, their number has risen by 29 percentage points. Around 46 percent of those polled also said that Russia posed a direct threat for the Czech democracy. A majority of Czechs, 80 percent, consider the crisis in Ukraine to be a threat for peace in Europe. However, 72 percent of people who took part in the survey said they did not believe that EU sanctions against Russia would help bring the conflict in Ukraine to an end.
Ex-president Václav Klaus is to head the planned National Council for Education which is to be established in 2015, Education Minister Marcel Chládek told journalists on Friday. The 15-member council is expected to issue recommendations and draft a long-term strategy which would improve the quality of education across the country. Vaclav Klaus has in the past expressed serious reservations regarding the national curriculum, the quality of education provided at Czech schools and the manner in which the performance of different learning institutions is evaluated.