On Sunday 11 June, in a preliminary yet binding decision, the Prague municipal court ruled the strike planned on today illegal, as its organizers had failed to announce it three working days before the strike, as obliged by the law.
Labor unionist reacted by moving the date of the strike on Thursday 16 June. While Monday’s strike was planned to last from 3 AM to 4 PM, the new strike announced on Thursday will last 24 hours. The strike is expected to halt railway transport and urban transit in many larger cities, above all in Prague.
Meanwhile, Czech President Václav Klaus criticized sharply Czech labor unions, saying that if it were up to him to decide, he would fire the striking public transport employees and contracted private companies.
“I suggest that the government is a way, way more resolute. If I were in the position of the government and Prague mayor, I would try to hire private buses all over the country, use them to replace the striking buses, and say ‘goodbye’ to strikers if they fail to show up to work,” Klaus was quoted as saying by iDnes, a Czech web-based daily.
Klaus added that he would have understood a strike held in order to reach better salaries. But a protest against the reforms planned by the center-right government is a political action, Klaus explained.
Already on Friday 10 June, Klaus said that he “resolutely refuses the abuse of a labor organization for political blackmail.”
Klaus has said on numerous occasions that he is inspired by the political tradition of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, so his critical approach towards labor unions is of little surprise.
In fact, the solution he suggests to break Thursday’s strike is analogous to Ronald Reagan’s controversial crushing of the air traffic controllers’ (PATCO) strike in 1981.
Recently, many EU states have seen a new wave of protests against economic problems, unemployment, and austerity reforms.