Nationwide strike day in the Czech Republic

The trade unions in the Czech Republic have called for a major day of protest today, Monday. The focus of the labour actions will be a one-hour warning strike against the government’s austerity package and planned education reforms. Most schools are also to remain closed. Commentators take different views on whether the strike, described by the unions as the biggest since 1989, is justified.

Mladá fronta dnes (CZ) /

The situation is far from rosy

Mladá fronta dnes explains the background to today’s events:

“After two years in office the government is facing its biggest test yet: a strike by teachers and people working in the production, transport and healthcare sectors. ... The decrease in real wages in the Czech Republic is more dramatic than in all other developed OECD countries and has set us back six years. We earn the same as in 2017, but the price of goods and services has risen many times over due to soaring inflation. On top of that, we have government measures which even those who push them through aren’t always convinced are useful.”

Vojtěch Janda
Denik (CZ) /

Listen and seek a deal

The right to strike is one of the foundations of modern Western society, Deník reminds readers:

“That makes it necessary to reach an agreement with the strikers. Hollywood producers also gnashed their teeth when screenwriters and actors demanded higher pay and regulations for artificial intelligence. ... Trade unionists are nowhere near as tough in the Czech Republic as they are elsewhere. The government should listen to them and not seek to reprimand them. Otherwise they could start chanting: ‘We’re not little children!’”

Martin Komárek
Český rozhlas (CZ) /

The economy is already recovering

Český rozhlas criticises trade unions’ timing:

“The protests are mainly directed against the high cost of living, inflation, energy prices, changes to pensions and the government’s package of measures, which will lead to a deterioration in living standards. The situation of many people is not a happy one. However, inflation rates are already falling, the economy is recovering, real wages will rise again next year and household energy prices will not rise as sharply as they did last year. The dramatic situation had already begun to improve in many areas before the trade unions began their protest.”

Petr Honzejk