Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Employers, unions hail rise in pensions, want its sustainability

15 March 2018

Prague, March 14 (CTK) - Representatives of Czech employers and unions agreed with the cabinet's plan to raise pensions as of 2019 in the talks with government officials on Wednesday, Confederation of Industry head Jaroslav Hanak and CMKOS umbrella union head Josef Stredula said after the Tripartite meeting.

At the same time, however, the employers and unions want the government to secure sustainability of the pensions financing in the following years.

The task of the Tripartite body, which brings together representatives of the government, trade unions and employers, is to help maintain social peace in the country.

Last week, the ANO minority government approved a 1,000-crown increase in the monthly pensions of seniors over 85.

In addition, a change in the fixed part of pensions, which is the same for all pensioners, is planned in favour of all pensioners, who should see their pensions increase by 540 crowns at least, including the regular indexation.

The change will cost the state some 14.5 billion crowns.

The relevant bill is yet to be discussed by parliament.

"The social partners had no problem to accept the cabinet's effort to solve the situation of pensioners. Wages have been growing, which is why pensions should grow as well. We agree with the extent of the rise in pensions, but we want to know from what sources it will be financed, so that its financing remains sustainable also after 2019," Hanak said.

Stredula called it important that PM Andrej Babis has assured the social partners that the government would not reduce employees and employers' contributions to the (pay-as-you-go) pension system.

"If we want to keep the pension system sustainable, we cannot reduce the [relevant] revenues," Stredula said.

The employers and unions criticised the government for approving a draft amendment to the civil service law on Wednesday without having enabled them to study it.

"It was a big surprise for us...We appreciate it that the prime minister has apologised," Stredula said.

The Tripartite body also discussed the situation in Czech drawing of EU subsidies and also planned transport infrastructure projects.

"We want the government to submit, in the spring, an analysis of the risks of drawing money from EU funds in individual programmes, together with a list of concrete measures and possible proposed reallocations. We want the government to secure an effective use of EU money," Hanak said.

Stredula asked Babis to support the EC in the EU-USA dispute about a possible U.S. imposition of customs fees on steel.

"There is no reason for this. Relations with the USA do not endanger U.S. security. In addition, the market might be flooded by subsidised steel from China, where no free competition exists," Stredula said.

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