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Czech Report Czech Report
by Euro Reporter
2011-06-12 10:18:45
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Czech unions to go ahead with strike despite court ban

The planned strike against government's reform package will take place, but it is not yet certain when and it what form, Czech trade union representatives said today, reacted to the court decision that declared it illegal. At first, the strike was to be held on Monday. The union representatives said they disagreed with the injunction that banned the strike. They argued that the strike had been declared in compliance with the constitution, not under the law on collective bargaining. When delivering the ruling, the court referred to its clauses.

The trade union representatives said they doubted the judiciary was independent. "The strike will take place. We are analysing the verdict. The strike was to be started in compliance with the constitution, not under the collective bargaining law," Jaroslav Zavadil, chairman of the umbrella Bohemian and Moravian Unions' Confederation (CMKOS), said. Zavadil said it was not necessary to announce the strike three days beforehand. Bohumir Dufek, head of the Independent Unions' Association (ASO), said the planned strike and blockades that were to protest against the government reform package could be even more radical. The timing and form of the strike is to be set down by the coordination strike committee composed of six trade union leaders.

Jaroslav Pejsa, head of the railway trade union, said the result of its meeting would be announced on Sunday afternoon. Senate chairman Milan Stech, former CMKOS head, said the injunction should be respected although it was wrong. Stech (Social Democrats) told CTK that an even more radical action could be a response and called on the general public to back the strike. "I consider it a gross mistake that a cabinet member has turned to a court with the strike," Stech said. Stech said the court decision would further undermine the public trust in the judiciary. The proposal to ban the strike was lodged by the Finance Ministry. If the protest is still held, trade union representatives will be liable for the damage.


President Klaus rejects Sudeten Germans' demand for apology

Earlier today, Franz Pany, leader of the Sudeten German organisation that associates Germans who were deported from Czechoslovakia after World War Two, asked Klaus to apologise to Sudeten Germans for the past wrongs. The statement of Klaus, now on a working visit to Berlin, was conveyed to CTK by his spokesman Radim Ochvat. Klaus is convinced that disputes over responsibility for World War Two and all associated events cannot be resolved by apologies, Ochvat said.

"Apology has always made sense as a beautiful human individual gesture a person makes as one's own decision," Klaus said. "Disputes over responsibility for World War Two and associated events cannot be resolved by apologies and certainly not by us, who live today, which means 66 years later," Klaus said. "Some in Germany do not want to hear all previous apologising statements by the Czech side," Ochvat said, quoting Klaus. "Besides, demanding an apology on the day of the anniversary of the Lidice horrendous tragedy is a sign of extreme human insensitivity and inability to draw lessons," he added.

After the 1942 killing of Reinhard Heydrich, wartime deputy Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, by Czechoslovak paratroopers trained in Britain, the whole village of Lidice was razed to the ground, all men were shot dead and women and children were sent to concentration camps. A few babies were sent to Germany for assimilation. A total of 340 Lidice inhabitants died. Only 143 local women and 17 children returned home after the war. The remembrance act in Lidice was attended by hundreds of people, including some Czech senior officials, today.


Inflation may bolster central bank’s rate-increase advocates

The Czech Republic’s accelerating economic growth and inflation may support the central bank policy makers who advocate raising interest rates from record low before the fourth quarter. Gross domestic product rose an annual 2.8 percent in the first quarter, compared with 2.7 percent in the final three months of 2010, the Prague-based Czech Statistics Office said today. The reading exceeded a 2.5 percent flash estimate on May 13. Inflation accelerated to 2 percent in May, matching the central bank’s target, from 1.6 percent in the previous month.

“Inflation is returning to the central bank’s target sooner than what was expected, which, combined with stronger GDP in the first quarter, indicates a chance for a quicker increase in interest rates,” Michal Brozka, an analyst at Raiffeisenbank AS in Prague said by phone. “The data still don’t signal rising demand pressures, so the central bank doesn’t need to rush with raising rates at the next meeting.”

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