Negotiations Underway to Address Gender Pay Gap in Czech Universities

After protests by academics and the government’s response, negotiations on correcting salary differences have started in universities. Both Charles University in Prague and Palacký University in Olomouc have started negotiations with faculty representatives and trade unionists on increasing tariff wages, which are very low in humanities fields, prompting teachers to take to the streets.

Negotiations on tariffs in Prague are already acquiring specific parameters. It seems that the tariff increase will be significant. The range of taxes at Charles University is enormous. For example, a senior lecturer can earn CZK 34,600 per month, but the upper limit is 80,000.

The negotiations aim to bring the boundaries of the tables closer together, but with the upper limit maintained. This will tighten the scissors between faculty salaries, but no one in the better-paid group will lose anything. Extraordinary grants totaling CZK 900 million could level the financial playing field. The government could send this grant on the condition that the schools themselves raise low tariffs.

According to Jan Stejskal, the dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and the head of the Association of Deans of Philosophical Faculties in Olomouc, technical and administrative workers’ tariff wages have increased, and further discussions will be held on others.

“The debate has started here, but it requires a complete rebuilding of the thinking about allocating resources to science and teaching. And that’s not easy because these systems have been built here for 30 years,” he told Právo.

“We have agreed that each dean will present their ideas on appropriate salaries. I have based our tariffs on salaries in elementary and high schools. We dream that a specialist assistant will have a salary like a high school teacher. That a senior lecturer should have more than a high school teacher,” Stejskal said.

In the next phase, deans should also present what salaries can be achieved from their budgets. According to Stejskal, most will say the ideas are “not in their economic reality.”

The government also asks school representatives to propose a systemic solution to the situation in the future. Discussions are underway about merging small fields and changes in the allocation of funds within universities.

However, academics who have joined the protest initiative “Hour of Truth” describe the government’s response as unsatisfactory. They demand more overall.