Czech trade unions push for increase in minimum wage to CZK 19,500 monthly

The Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions is advocating for a significant rise in the country's minimum wage, up to CZK 19,500 from next year.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 26.08.2023 12:44:00 (updated on 26.08.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (ČMKOS) is advocating for a significant rise in the country's minimum wage as of next year, with a proposed increase of CZK 2,200 to reach CZK 19,500 monthly from January 2024.

Alongside this, the trade union organization aims to keep and elevate levels of guaranteed wages, which factor in types of position and skill levels. Josef Středula, the head of ČMKOS, emphasized their demand for this raise in minimum wage as well as the preservation of guaranteed wages, which critics have suggested removing entirely.

"Our demands continue," Středula told Czech News Agency. "We are pushing for an increase [in minimum wage] to 19,500 crowns from January. We also insist on maintaining the guaranteed wages."

The country's minimum monthly wage, which is earned by an estimated 150,000 individuals in the Czech Republic, has already risen by CZK 1,100 to CZK 17,300 through the first eight months of this year.

According to Středula, however, this still isn't enough to compensate for rapidly rising costs. The trade unions have called for an additional rise in minimum wage of CZK 1,000 this year due to inflation, and another CZK 1,200 rise from the start of 2024.

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Cumulatively, this totals the desired CZK 2,200 increase from January, which would be a 13 percent growth. Trade unions stress persistent inflation and underscore the comparatively lower minimum wage in the Czech Republic versus neighboring nations.

However, employers have voiced disagreement concerning more substantial escalation. They contend that the issue isn't only about increasing the country's minimum wage, but rather guaranteed wages, which are minimum wages that factor in skill, complexity, and responsibility of the work.

Ranging from the minimum wage to double its value, these guaranteed wages are disbursed across eight levels (from CZK 17,300 to CZK 34,600). This year, the government has adjusted only the lowest and highest levels, leaving the middle six levels of guaranteed wages untouched. Unions advocate for these levels to also be raised.

The Czech Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, has characterized guaranteed wages as a "socialist vestige" and suggested their elimination, as earnings in the Czech Republic are growing at a quicker pace than productivity.

Automatic wage increases have been the subjects of recent debates. Critics says that new EU regulations, adopted last year, guide sufficient minimum wage regulation, allocating for either 60% of the median gross wage or 50% of the average gross wage.

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