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Ministry, region to tackle problems with foreign workers

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Plzen, West Bohemia, April 10 (CTK) – Czech police will reinforce patrols in Plzen and in the Tachov area elsewhere in west Bohemia where industrial zones show the highest crime rate involving foreign workforce, according to a memorandum the state, the Plzen Region and the town hall representatives signed yesterday.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec, Region Governor Josef Bernard, Plzen Mayor Martin Zrzavecky (all Social Democrats, CSSD) and regional police head Pavel Krakora told journalists that the number of police patrolling in the centre of Plzen rose by 17 percent, to 180, at the beginning of the year already.

Chovanec said the ministry wants to sign similar memoranda with other regions, the next being Hradec Kralove, east Bohemia.

Based on the memorandum, the Plzen town, region and the state will be exchanging information about the current security situation, Chovanec said.

The region has pledged to join a working team that the ministry established in January and that also includes employers. The team’s agenda includes a restriction of the rules for labour agencies and a reduction of their number.

The team’s task is to complete a concept of industrial zones development including adequate infrastructure, along with guidelines for the towns neighbouring on large industrial zones to acquaint them with legislation such as the duties of foreigners and the rules for the local private providers accommodation, Chovanec said.

The cabinet is expected to discuss the concept on May 10.

Chovanec mentioned an amendment to the foreigners’ residence law that the Chamber of Deputies passed last week and that enables to crack down on labour agencies if they fail to fulfil their duties in relation to the state.

On Wednesday, the Chamber of Deputies will discuss an employment bill dealing with the regulation of the country’s 2,000 labour agencies. “We want to toughen conditions for them, set limits and bails for them to meet,” Chovanec said.

He said the police activity has been more intensive in Plzen, the regional centre, since the beginning of the year. They have uncovered 100 forged ID cards since.

The robbery clearance rate in Plzen is 80 percent, which is unprecedentedly high, Chovanec said.

“Mayors, now mainly in the Tachov area, complain that health and welfare systems, shops, in short infrastructure are starting to collapse. In addition, a mess has appeared in towns,” said Bernard.

Of the Plzen Region’s 210,000 employees, more than 30,000 are foreigners, mostly from EU countries, i.e. Slovaks, Romanians and Bulgarians.

Labour agencies misuse the soft legislation, massively purchase flats and houses in villages in order to accommodate dozens of foreigners.

Zrzavecky said it is necessary to seek a change to the country’s economic policy.

He said new and new jobs have been mushrooming in industrial zones, which have been massively importing foreign workforce.

“However, we must primarily secure our citizens,” Zrzavecky said. That is why he prefers the arrival of whole foreign families that would live in the region permanently, to the arrival of individual workers, he said.


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