More Statements

1st of May 2024

May 1, 2024

Last year, we were talking about trade unions protecting worker’s rights that were won over the last centuries. We were giving warnings that our good jobs were not as safe as they could seem and that even tech workers should join trade unions. The last 12 months have unfortunately proved us right.

Since our last May 1st catch up, we have faced a negative trend in our sector globally. It started with unprecedented waves of layoffs over the last 12 months that included layoffs at Google, Apple, Amazon, Tesla, IBM and continued through the whole ICT sector in multiple countries

Finding a job is no longer that easy, and the fear of termination during probation keeps a lot of workers “hostage” in their current jobs. Workers everywhere are losing their confidence in renegotiating salaries amidst the continuous rise in inflation. The threat of further layoffs is a huge stress factor in their daily lives. This leads to a stagnation in the job market, which does not only affect our experienced colleagues, but we also have experienced our junior colleagues struggle to find openings in our sector.

The situation is no different in the Czech Republic. In our personal circles, we all know people affected by the current job market state or the continuous waves of layoffs in multiple companies. On a national scale, since last year, there have been multiple changes or suggestions for changes to the labor code by the right-wing government that directly clash with the interests of workers in the ICT sector. The replacement of official communication and document exchange via post between companies and their employees with email communication is one of the proposals that we, workers in the ICT sector, oppose.

Another proposal of the Czech government is to give companies the option to fire people without cause. No matter the official justification, enforcing such policies will definitely not benefit workers in the long term; on the contrary, it sets the working conditions in the Czech Republic years back. The risk of the companies abusing these measures is high, and we choose to be better safe than sorry. And this is not just a speculation. A recent study from the USA proves that firing without cause statistically lowers salaries by 5.28%.

Taking a look back to January this year, we can see that the seemingly unrelated move of removing the tax rebate benefit for union members who are paying union dues is actually targeting the union movement directly, especially in a country with no strong union tradition and at a time where there is an increasing need for an active workers movement.

In these uncertain times, our best way to protect ourselves against power imbalance between companies, government and employees is to join a trade union and organize ourselves to be able to stand as equals with these organized structures. To safeguard our rights, we must bargain with our employers collectively and take other sectoral actions to improve conditions for all. A large organization with active members can help achieve these goals and extend solidarity to workers in other sectors in the Czech Republic and worldwide.

So, come join us in our attempts to gain control of our work days and our working conditions for workers here and everywhere.

Authors are board members of ICT union