Illustrative photo – Chairman of the Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (ČMKOS) Josef Středula talks to journalists after a meeting with President Petr Pavlo, to whom he presented the union's position on the upcoming tax and pension changes, April 24, 2023, Prague Castle.
Prague – The trade unions request that the proposals for reform changes to the pension system be discussed by the tripartite at its next meeting in mid-May. They want her to discuss them together with the tax reforms. Josef Středula, head of the Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions (ČMKOS), told journalists after a meeting with Labor Minister Marian Jurečka (KDU-ČSL). Jurečka presented the outlines of the upcoming reform to the trade unionists. It should include an earlier pension for demanding professions, shortening the mandatory insurance period from 35 to 25 years, linking the retirement age to life expectancy or child care awards.
“I am presenting a set of measures that we are discussing in the coalition and that were presented by the National Economic Council of the Government (NERV). We passed them,” said the minister after the meeting with the unions. He added that he has an “agreement in principle” with the trade unionists on earlier pensions for demanding professions. He mentioned adjustments to the child and loved ones care award settings. He did not want to give details. “In general, I can say that it is important for us that, within the parameters of the pension reform, education is valued better than before,” said Jurečka. Now a bonus of 500 crowns is paid per child, which is valorized with the pension. When calculating the pension, the period of caring for the offspring is taken into account.
Strędula said that the trade unions did not receive the proposed changes. “We saw the presentation of the pension reform. We don't have it,” said the head of the ČMKOS. He identified the presented intentions as theses.
The government plans to publish the pension changes in May. Representatives of the cabinet, trade unions and employers are scheduled to meet on May 15. The trade unionists asked Jurečka to contact Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) regarding the inclusion of pension proposals in the agenda of the tripartite meeting. They want to discuss pension adjustments along with tax adjustments. “If the extension of the retirement age, deterioration of the conditions for early retirements, VAT and health insurance (introduction of levies for employees) are being considered, this means that even the tax sum in the form of an employee will get another noose around its neck. Things they are linked. We consider the pension reform to be part of taxation,” said Středula.
According to him, in the presentation there was an earlier pension for demanding professions, namely for workers in the so-called third and fourth categories according to health risks due to noise, dust, chemicals, radiation, physical or mental stress, heat or air pressure. Now almost half a million people fall here. “We now have a series of technical meetings that will last at least three to four months. Together, on behalf of the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Health, trade unions and employers, we will look for optimal parameters for the definition of demanding professions,” said Jurečka. Employers will pay higher contributions for people in demanding professions.
Trade unions do not agree to further raising the retirement age beyond 65. According to Středula, the proposal envisages a later retirement, and it also includes a reduction of the mandatory period of contributions for the right to a pension from 35 to 25 years. CMKOS is against it. To value child care, he suggests equalizing the earnings gap between men and women and valorizing the wages or salaries of parents after returning from parental leave. Jurečka talked about “better parametric treatment” of the so-called spare time for care time.