CZECH REPUBLIC - The Czech Social Democratic party (CSSD) vowed to repeal the pension fund law that has now passed the first house of parliament should they return to power.

Late last week, the lower house of the Czech parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, passed a government bill on the introduction of an opt-out for workers to join the second pillar.

The upper house is expected to reject the bill, but the centre-right government coalition has enough seats in the lower house to override this, according to analysts.
After general elections last year, the Social Democrats lost their seat in the government but still have a strong position in the upper house of parliament, the Senate.

In a statement issued after the parliamentary vote on Friday, the CSSD vowed to repeal "the so-called pension reform changes and the so-called second pillar of private savings" should it win the next general elections scheduled for 2014.

It said: "It is unacceptable that the government pushed such fundamental systemic changes through only via its majority in the Chamber of Deputies, and that it was approved without basic agreement with social partners, the opposition and the Senate."

The opposition party criticised that the second pillar would only benefit those who earn CZK40,000 (€1,600) per month, which is 10-15% of the Czech working population.

It added: "The government's plan does nothing to solve future situation. Seventy percent of the economically active population receive average or below-average wages, and for them, the so-called second pillar is not in any way advantageous."

The CSSD also warned that the second part of the reform, the increase and unification of VAT rates, would have a negative effect on the whole population, even if they were not part of the second pillar.