Currently, many EU governments try to press further painful austerity reforms in order to curb their large fiscal deficits and government debts. And they face massive protests, which can be largely peaceful, as in Spain, but can as well turn quite ugly, as in Greece.
Until very recently, the Czech Republic appeared to be largely unaffected by this new European protest tide. However, Czech labor unions organized a massive strike and protests last Thursday (16 June), paralyzing the public transport in Prague and railway traffic all over the country for 24 hours.
In addition, they prepare further protests against public spending cuts and other austerity measures planned by the Czech government. Protests are to take place in July and above all August, and there is the possibility of a general strike after the summer, say Czech labor unions.
“If the government pushes further its asocial reforms, I cannot exclude any possible form of protest, even a general strike,” said Luboš Pomajbík, the chairman of the Czech Transport Labor Labor Union.
According to labor unions, all depends on the shape of the reforms and the way the government will try to approve them. First demonstrations could take place already during the summer vacations period, because the Lower Chamber is to vote on further parts of the Czech health care reform in July.
Another strike could place in fall, however Pomajbík refused to confirm this.
Unions added that they will also use legislative ways to influence the process of approval of reforms.
Czech labor unions say that the reforms would worsen the life conditions of the majority of the Czech society. They want the center-right government to withdraw the reforms, above all the health care bill.