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Czech school workers’ unions to seek higher pay rise in negotiations

The Czech school workers' union wants further negotiations about a steeper pay rise than the government-planned 10 percent for teachers and 7 percent for non-teaching professions

Prague, Sept 3 (CTK) – The Czech school workers’ union wants further negotiations about a steeper pay rise than the government-planned 10 percent for teachers and 7 percent for non-teaching professions, its chairman Frantisek Dobsik said after meeting Education Minister Robert Plaga (ANO) today.

Plaga said he does not plan to further boost the planned increase, which Dobsik called not sufficient for improving the quality of Czech schools.

Dobsik said his union demands a pay increase of 15 percent for teachers and 10 percent for the non-teaching staff.

In its policy statement from mid-2018, the cabinet of ANO and the Social Democrats (CSSD) promised to raise teachers’ monthly gross pay to 150 percent in 2021 as against 2017, which means an increase to 45,000 crowns.

In the first quarter of 2019, the average wage of teachers was 36,224 crowns.

Plaga said today that the government will manage to meet its promise by rising the wages in the next two years. He said a steeper pay increase is unfeasible in regard to the economic development, he said.

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Dobsik said the union wants further negotiations after which Minister Alena Schillerova (for ANO) or PM Andrej Babis (ANO) would make the final decision.

It is still unclear how the additional money will be distributed among teachers. Plaga wants school headmasters to have more money at their disposal for remunerating the best teachers.

The unions, on their part, want as much money as possible to be used to increase teachers’ base pay.

“I definitely cannot agree with the whole additional sum going to the base pay. I will seek a balance in this respect,” Plaga said.

The Education Ministry’s draft budget for 2020 is projected at 223.9 billion crowns including European subsidies. This is an 18.1-billion increase compared with this year’s budget.

In 2020, the additional money should mainly be used to raise the pay of teachers elementary and secondary schools operated by the regions. A total of 160.8 billion crowns is to go to these schools next year.

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In its budget outlook for 2021, the cabinet reckons with a further 9-percent and 7-percent increase in the pay of teachers and the non-teaching professions, respectively.

rtj/dr/kva

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