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Czech miners may retire seven years earlier

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Prague, May 4 (CTK) – Miners in underground mines may be able to retire seven years earlier than other workers, that is at the age of 56 years now, according to proposed changes in an amendment to pension insurance that the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, passed on Wednesday.

The bill must yet be approved by the Senate, the upper house, and signed by President Milos Zeman.

Deputies agreed with a change proposed by the senior government Social Democrats (CSSD). The government of the CSSD, ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) originally proposed that miners be entitled to a regular old-age pension five years earlier.

The CSSD’s proposal was supported by 113 out of the 176 deputies present. Along with the Social Democrats (CSSD), the opposition Communists, Dawn MPs, unaffiliated deputies and some for ANO voted for it.

A total of 166 deputies voted for the whole bill, no one was against it.

Under the new legislation, the early retirement should apply to miners who have worked 3,300 shifts in a coal mine or 2,200 shifts in a uranium mine.

The retirement age has been rising in the Czech Republic yearly – by two months for men and by four months for women, and it should eventually reach the same level for both genders.

At present, men can retire at the age of over 63 years, childless women at the age of 62 and women with children earlier, based on the number of their children.

According to the new bill, miners could retire at the age of 56 years and they could choose an early retirement from the age of 53 years.

Underground coal mines are mainly in the Moravia-Silesia Region, north Moravia, where they are operated by the OKD company. However, it wants to significantly limit the mining in the Karvina and Ostrava areas due to financial problems.

On Tuesday, OKD filed for insolvency since it had no money to repay its debts that totalled more than 17 billion crowns. The firm’s property is worth less than seven billion.

To prevent further losses, the company plans to shut down the Paskov mine by the beginning of 2017 and the Lazy mine by the end of 2018. The closures would affect thousands of jobs.

The OKD has about 9800 regular workers, 2500 employees in supplier firms and 200 people are agency workers.

Uranium is mined in Rozna, south Moravia, by the Diamo company, and partially also in north Bohemia.

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