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Prague, May 16 – The Czech Republic’s major trade unions have threatened to stage strikes if the government does not enter negotiations over its forthcoming austerity package.
The Trade Union of State Bodies and Organizations said the government’s “consolidation” package would have unprecedented effects on employees and their families, reports Xinhua news agency.
Trade Union representative Honza Exner said on Monday that “the government wants its austerity package to be paid for mainly by employees and their families, but also by seniors and young people”.
On May 11, the government had unveiled the recovery plan for public finances, calling it a way to “change the trend of increasing indebtedness of our state”.
The plan will cut spending by approximately 94 billion Czech crowns ($4 billion) in 2024, and by 148 billion crowns in 2025.
This will be achieved by raising the retirement age, and hiking corporate and real estate taxes, as well as taxes on alcohol.
There would also be job cuts in the public sector.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, large budget deficits have downgraded the Czech Republic’s credit rating, and many experts see the government’s austerity plan as inevitable.
However, despite pressure from the unions, the ruling coalition has indicated it will still not acquiesce to criticism of the package.