Prague’s tram, metro and bus workers have announced a strike on Monday against the center-right government’s raft of tax, pension, health and social security reforms. Unions made the announcement of the strike from 3 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday on their website, Dp-arena.cz. They said they were sick of negotiating for months with a government that was not prepared to listen to their views.
“Will you get a new job if you are sacked when you are 60 years old? And if you can’t get a job, how do you think you will live following the demands concerning early and radically cut pension payments?” the unions said in a statement, adding that social conflict was now unavoidable.
The Czech news server iDnes.cz reported that transport workers in the country’s second-largest city, Brno, has also come out favor of a strike on Monday but that other transit staff around the country were postponing a decision until the results of further government talks became clear. ‘How do you think you will live following the demands concerning early and radically cut pension payments?’
The Czech Republic’s main grouping of unions, the Czech and Moravian Confederation of Trades Unions (ČMKOS) was more circumspect about the strike with spokeswoman Jana Kašparová saying that it was still waiting for the outcome of talks with Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09) on Thursday and talks between the parties in the government coalition on Friday. The ČMKOS together with the smaller Association of Independent Unions (ASO) has nonetheless scheduled a press conference on Friday morning to announce the details of a transit strike.
The fractured Czech government coalition is seeking to push through key planks of its tax and social reform package through the lower house of Parliament at its latest session, which started on Tuesday.