Czech Republic: Rebuilding global finances is a must

Illustrationon the eight MDG
created by students of Hollar
Graphic School, Prague.

Achieving food security as a common responsibility of the South and North, promoting decent work and providing electrification for all by 2030 at the national level: those are the focuses of attention of a broad non-governmental alliance created in the Czech Republic against poverty. To achieve them, the Czech Social Watch coalition thinks it necessary to rebuild the financial architecture at the global level.

The coalition members know about the impact of the financial crisis from their own experience at home. Nationally, according to the Czech Social Watch report  2013, "the government persists in antisocial and anti-family policies of fiscal restrictions, privatizations and reductions of social expenditures that raised unemployment to ten percent, undermined the economy, encouraged the capital flights and destructed instruments of environmental protection".

“Due to strong fiscal restrictions, domestic demand is plummeting (…), especially the households’ consumption,” reads the report, which notes that this fall was the primary cause of the recession. “The decline in government consumption was comparable to that of Greece, even though debt (..) is among the lowest in Europe. Equally strong is the reaction of households,” adds the text, edited bi Tomáš Tožička.

“In the beginning of 2012, ‘stabilizing measures’ were announced and later approved for the coming years,” according to the report. These measures include “some as drastic as freezing pensions (…), another increase in VAT, abolition of maternity grants”, housing payments and “a temporary restoration of progression in corporate income taxation.”

“The combined effect of VAT growth, increase in payments for drugs and health care services (fees for hospital stays) and changes in the valorization scheme will strongly affect and further impoverish seniors,” warns the study.

This so called “social reform” means “complex alteration of all social allowances for parents, handicapped people, members of low-income groups, (and) changes in payment of unemployment benefits (…) in the Labor Code, where many of them are weakening the position of employees. Most of these changes are effective since January 2012,” adds the report.

Women are affected the most: “It is unclear how the people unemployed due to the discrimination of those caring for children, which is a common thing in the Czech Republic, or those unable to place their children in overcrowded public nurseries shall provide their children with appropriate care,” it says. “The amendment also prohibits the concourse of drawing parental allowance and childcare allowance for parents of handicapped children, which brings about a significant worsening of the economic situation of such families and mainly of women, who typically leave work to take care of the household.”

The Czech Government also responded to the crisis tightening “the conditions of obtaining and prolonging work, residence and family reunification permits” with an immigration policy aimed “at greater control and repression of foreigners”, not at “the respect of their rights, including the labor rights.

“The strictest measures affect male and female migrant workers in unqualified job positions, i.e. the group of people that often find themselves in a very vulnerable position towards the employer,” remarks the report.

Czech Social Watch Report 2013:

Human Rights International Treaties
ILO Conventions
C 87 C 98 C 105 C 100 C 111C 138 C 182
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