Czech rally demands end to cheap labour

A rally of Czech trade unionists in Prague on 14 September, organised by ETUC affiliate organisation ČMKOS, agreed the following Manifesto:
Fair growth of wages in collective agreements for 2018

  • In September 2015, the Czech-Moravian confederation of trade unions launched the “End of Cheap Labour” campaign with a clear purpose to give a new impulse, inspiration, courage and hope for collective bargaining.
  • Much has changed since then. Today, no one – including the public, media and politicians – doubts the labour price is ČMKOS’ analysis has shown where the causes are.
  • We can proudly say, now, that the effort of trade unions – the “End of Cheap Labour” campaign – is beneficial to Czech employees. In two years (2016 – 2017), the wage level will have increased by 10 per cent.
  • The government has significantly increased the minimum wage and has increased wages in the public sector. For this the government deserves our thanks. We also appreciate the efforts of the government, of the Prime Minister who rightly believes that without increased pressure on the representatives of the transnational companies operating in the Czech Republic we cannot manage to erase the dramatic gap between the wage levels of Western and Eastern Europe and who also appeals to European policy-makers.
  • CMKOS recommends negotiating wage growth by 8-10% in collective bargaining for 2018, according to possibilities and good economic estimates.

The End of Cheap Labour Campaign in political parties’ manifestos

  • Now, in the run-up to the elections, it is quite legitimate for CMKOS to look into political parties’ manifestos and to ask politicians how they want to get Czech employees out of the trap of low wages and salaries.
  • We are pleased to note that the campaign “End of Cheap Labour” has influenced the programmes of all parliamentary political Wages and salaries are historically the first priority for them. However, they differ significantly in how to achieve the end of cheap labour in the Czech Republic. They scratch the surface, most lack a long-term strategy, and some even suggest worsening.
  • Wage and salary growth is possible only under the conditions of the pro-growth government policy accompanied by a fundamental modernization of the Czech economy. Whether we will really go this way, which CMKOS introduced in its analytical programme document “The Vision of Changing the Economic Strategy of the Czech Republic”, is the crucial question for the future.
  • We are calling on the politicians who are seeking the vote of Czech employees, lures and promises are not enough for us. Show us the costs of your promises and their impact on budgetary stability and on citizens.

We recommend to the voters: choose and vote those parties that offer a real economic programme, those who have a real interest in raising the standard of living of the working people – the employees.