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PM, interior minister agree on raising security forces’ pay

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Prague, Sept 7 (CTK) – Czech security forces’ pay should rise by 10 percent as of November, PM Bohuslav Sobotka and Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (both Social Democrats, CSSD) said after their talks on Thursday, one in a series of Sobotka’s separate meetings with ministers at the close of the government’s term of office.

The meetings are aimed to assess the performance and achievements of all members of Sobotka’s 17-seat centre-left cabinet in which the CSSD’s partners are the ANO movement and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).

The general election is due on October 20-21.

Sobotka said he rejects the proposal by the coalition partners that the pay of the security corps, including the police and firefighters, should not be raised because they went up adequately in the recent period.

He supported the increase in wages, which has also been demanded by the trade unions that have gone on strike alert over what they call the government’s excessively protracted debate on the issue.

Sobotka said Chovanec, in his capacity as minister, has succeeded in stabilising the situation of the security corps. The present cabinet has returned them the money which was taken away from them by the previous rightist cabinet, Sobotka said.

In the past four years, the present cabinet raised the security corps’ pay by a total of 25 percent, which is 5,000 crowns of monthly gross income averagely, Sobotka said.

He and Chovanec also discussed the Interior Ministry’s draft budget for 2018, a part of the budget bill presented by the finance minister.

Chovanec said the ministry’s budget is projected at 66.7 billion crowns but 3.4 billion more is needed to cover its planned spending. He said he will continue negotiating about a relevant budget increase.

Sobotka praised Chovanec’s performance as minister in the past four years.

In recent years, the Interior Ministry has had to react to the security situation worsening over terrorist attacks and the migrant crisis in Europe, he said.

“We have succeeded in keeping the security situation fully under our control,” he said.

Referring to domestic issues, Sobotka mentioned the ministry’s steps in reaction to the explosion of an ammunition dump in Vrbetice, south Moravia, the launch of a national security audit and the passing of the police development concept for the next four years.

The crime rate declined every year since the cabinet’s appointment in early 2014, Sobotka said.

Another success of the Interior Ministry was the prevention of the privatisation of the Czech Post (CP) state enterprise, he said.

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