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Czechs losing jobs

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Jobs in the Czech Republic are disappearing, although not at a fast rate, with companies laying off dozens, at most hundreds of workers, according to a survey of employment offices conducted by Aktuálně.cz.

For now, there should not be any more massive layoffs comparable to what happened when glassmaker Sklo Bohemia closed down its plant in Světlá nad Sázavou earlier this month, leaving more than a thousand people out of work.

Experts warn, however, that unemployment in the Czech Republic will grow. Looming recession in western Europe and in the United States and the slowing Czech economy will mean less business for local companies.

According to the Automotive Industry Association, for instance, Czech carmakers and their suppliers might need to fire up to 3,000 workers as a result of the financial crisis.

Fewer and fewer employers are seeking new workers. “Companies are now more careful, and prefer not to hire,” said Tomáš Raichl, an analysts with the Teplice employment office.

Jobs in the textile industry, leather tanning and other fields that have been struggling for a while are now the hardest hit when it comes to job losses. People are also leaving the army.

Towns and small cities are losing more jobs than regional capitals such as Prague, Brno and Liberec.

Workers face big redundancies in eastern Moravia. “The textile company Slezan in the Uherské Hradiště area will close its gates by the end of this year, and 145 people will be out of work,” said František Dostálek from the local employment office.

In Zlín, 37 leather tanners, 21 energy company workers and 10 street cleaners and maintenance technicians will lose their jobs.

The situation is similar in other regions. In Plzeň a branch of an electronics manufacturing plant will close down, putting 80 people out of work. A factory in neighbouring Rokycany that makes fabrics for car seats will move its production to northern Africa. In the Karlovy Vary region, RWE will be letting go several of its administrative workers. And Bosch Diesel in Jihlava is firing 300 staff.

Several dozen people are being dismissed from army units in Olomouc area and a hundred will lose their jobs in the Náchod area.

Still other companies are considering layoffs or abandoning plans to expand their staff. Multidisplay, a Hranice plant that manufactures LCD monitors, has decided not to double its workforce as originally planned and told its employees to start looking for new work.

Although experts expected the unemployment rate in the Czech Republic to fall slightly in September, the rate has remained flat at 5.3%, Labour and Social Affairs Ministry statistics show.

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