Stanjura: The new government will cancel the across-the-board salary increase

The outgoing cabinet of ANO and ČSSD is going to approve a salary increase for firefighters, police officers, soldiers, teachers, social services workers, and other state employees by the same amount. Still, the new government of Together and PirSTAN is not counting on such an increase and will probably cancel the regulation. Zbyněk Stanjura (ODS), a hot candidate for finance minister, said this on Sunday.

“If the government adopts the socialist proposal that it will give everyone the same raise, I think we will cancel it because it is not fair,” Stanjura said. In his view, there are great, average, and other employees in every company or office, and the draft regulation does not distinguish between them. “The problem is not the amount per se, but the principle,” he added.

The draft regulation envisages that all public service and administration employees, except for teachers, who are expected to get a 3.5 percent raise next year, could see their base salary, or pay scale, increase by CZK 1 400 from January.

According to an earlier statement by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO), the cabinet could decide on the salary increase on Wednesday. The state budget, which Babiš’s cabinet has already approved, envisages increased public-sector salaries, but the nascent new coalition also plans to rework it.

Stanjura did not specify how and by how much the salaries would increase. The chair of STAN and presumptive Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said last week that despite the planned savings in the ministry, he does not expect salaries for police officers and firefighters to fall.

However, outgoing Finance Minister Alena Schillerová (ANO) has commented on the proposed salary increase, stating that the entire CZK 1,400 cannot be used to cover the tariff.” Then there will be no room at all for non-revenue components, for additional payments,” she stressed. In addition, she said, the tariff increase in the armed forces increases other components of salary by law.

On Sunday, Schillerová also pointed out that the incoming coalition is counting on a budget provision at the beginning of the year, which means that public salaries will not be raised from January for the duration of the budget provision. Stanjura, however, disagreed, pointing to the total annual income of employees.

Inflation will be significantly higher

It is clear that even the promised CZK 1,400 increase will not cover inflation for state employees, as was initially expected.

According to the Finance Ministry’s new macroeconomic forecast, average annual inflation will reach 6% next year.

In August, the MoF predicted that consumer prices would rise by 3.5 percent in 2022. According to the current estimate of the Czech National Bank (CNB), inflation should increase slightly less next year, to 5.6 percent from the previously estimated 2.8 percent.

Annual consumer price inflation in the Czech Republic already approached the five percent mark in September and will climb to seven percent during the coming winter, according to the CNB. In October, analysts estimate that annual inflation rose significantly to an average of 5.7 percent, up from 4.9 percent in September.