Trade unionist: Our chairman’s candidacy for president is an honor for us

Trade unionist: Our chairman’s candidacy for president is an honor for us
Trade unionist: Our chairman’s candidacy for president is an honor for us

The unions announced a large demonstration for the beginning of October. According to them, the government is not doing enough to help people with rising energy prices and all other living costs, including food. What exactly do they want?

Guest I’m asking Vít Samek is the vice-chairman of ČMKOS.

About seventy thousand opponents of the government filled Wenceslas Square in Prague over the weekend. According to them, Petr Fiala’s cabinet is insufficiently helping with the high cost, and the trade unionists who met in the capital on Monday see the same.

About a thousand of them arrived at the anti-poverty rally, and they are calling another mass demonstration on October 8 right on Wenceslas Square. With the event, which they called “Five minutes after twelve”, they said they mainly want to point out the sharp rise in prices and the real drop in income.

In addition, the head of the ČMKOS and also the presidential candidate Josef Středula has already let it be known that if the government does not listen to the trade unionists, they are planning further actions. However, according to some members of the government, the trade unions should rather act and find a compromise solution than demonstrate in the streets.

Aren’t they right? Is upward pressure on wages the right thing to do if it keeps fueling inflation? And doesn’t it harm the unions that they are headed by presidential candidate Josef Středula?

You can play the entire interview in an audio player, in your favorite podcast app or in a video.

What was said in the conversation?

1:05 am Our requirements are many, but they are more suggestions, recommendations. The main thing we need is for the government to deal with costliness and inflation, these are two fundamental phenomena that hit hard on all employees and their families, not just our membership. We want the government to use the instrument of price ceilings. Just like the price of the water we drink from the tap is a regulated item, we want the government to do the same as other countries. They selected a number of items that are necessary for households and put a ceiling on their prices.

2:05 am We want to cap energy, but also food. We are already reading in the media that many families do not have lunches for children at the beginning of the school year. Basic items like butter or baked goods need to be capped.

3:20 am Capping prices is step two. The first should have been price control, this is also possible under the Price Act. There are a number of control bodies here and they are not doing what they should. We want them to start investigating which of those traders are keeping a reasonable margin and which are abusing the situation. Whether they are raising prices above a bearable level. We called on the government to introduce these controls.

5:10 The state has to make sure that it has enough revenue because he is giving it up.

5:45 am Can everyone afford butter for 100 crowns? – Is it appropriate to regulate prices across the board? – Yes, the vast majority of citizens need it. Yesterday, a figure was published that 45 percent of Czech households live paycheck to paycheck. At the very least, they need food prices to be predictable. If you don’t, you’re throwing them overboard.

7:00 And can’t the state help them in a targeted way, rather than across the board like this? – The state didn’t do anything like that. We require widespread help. It is not for debt, if you do price regulation, it will help the most. We call for it, do the checks, find out the margins, regulate. Price regulation is our long-term demand under this and the previous government.

8:55 And these regulations will not have to be compensated to the sellers? – The biggest profit from the sale of food is generated in the store. We are victims of multinational companies that do all the distribution in the market. These companies are a hidden cartel. When you compare the goods, you will find out what striking similarity there is. Same at gas stations.

11:05 a.m At the same time, the state budget has inflationary income, which is not discussed. The budget for 2022 includes 124 billion state budget revenues resulting from inflation growth. All those inflation rates are hitting people. We then suspect the government that it suits them, because the less and later the government does, the more it has left.

12:05 p.m Jurečka introduces 5,000 crowns for each child, this is a measure that we proposed to solve in the form of an adjustment of child allowances. This would not require anything administratively, the system was devised and works. Now they have to invent and pay for a new one. Same with the energy civil servant.

15:00 The current drop in wages is not going to make up for it. The Czech population, according to our estimates, we will all become poorer by 20 percent.

16:00 Where to take to curb inflation and high prices, the budget is in a deep deficit? – There are two sources, one is inflationary, this year it will be over 200 billion. They also have to pay taxes. It has somehow become accepted here that people have to pay for everything. At the same time, there are a number of taxes. Yesterday on TV, a representative of the bank explained why it is not possible to tax banks that have proven to make a profit. So we would tax all entities that have profited extremely from what is happening. That’s energy, the whole industry lives on it. One part of the economy gets richer, the other gets poorer. A transfer needs to be made.

18:50 Didn’t ČMKOS become a tool of Mr. Středula’s election campaign? – Or vice versa. The union president is a pretty credible candidate. And he’s not a union candidate, he’s looking for votes himself, it’s his campaign. For ČMKOS, it is a kind of honor. He does not abuse the unions, he simply applies the same topics as the unions. It was not his decision to call a large demonstration (on October 8 – editor’s note), it was decided by the unions. We have been criticizing the inflation rate for a long time. It’s not just creating political pressure. We do not pursue political goals. We don’t want resources to be sought only from employees. People can’t pay for everything.

I’m asking

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The article is in Czech

Tags: Trade unionist chairmans candidacy president honor

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