Public Sector Workers in the Czech Republic Face Real Income Drop

Public sector workers in the Czech Republic have experienced a nearly one-fifth drop in real income over the past five years. According to a new Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs report, this decline has primarily affected cooks, janitors, clerks, and cultural workers. The high inflation rate is the main cause behind this decline.

Ten women are busy preparing about nine hundred meals daily at an elementary school in Prague. They work hard, handling everything from the preparation to the cleaning. Their monthly earnings are roughly 25,000 gross Czech Koruna (approximately 20,000 net), and they struggle to cover living costs. They believe the proposed salary increase of up to ten per cent, suggested by the Minister of Labor, is insufficient, and they would prefer an increase of 20-25 per cent.

Due to high inflation, real wages for cooks, janitors, cultural workers, and clerks, among other public sector employees, decreased by almost eighteen percent between 2019 and 2023. The Minister of Labor plans to propose a seven—to ten per cent wage increase for these employees starting in September.

However, the real incomes of all public sector employees, including police officers, firefighters, and soldiers, have dropped between 2019 and 2023. While teachers have received a roughly five per cent pay increase this year, other school employees last received a raise in September 2022.

The coalition leaders will meet with trade union leaders on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the matter. However, the government parties’ and trade unions’ ideas about possible wage increases in the public sector differ significantly.