Workers at the Skoda Auto plant in the central Bohemian town of Mlada Boleslav are threatening to go on a symbolic one-hour strike if their wage demands are not met. Talks between union leaders and employers ended in deadlock on Friday. Skoda Auto is believed to have offered workers a pay increase of 11 percent. A spokesman for the company said negotiations would continue on Monday.
Tomas Hruda has been sacked as head of CzechInvest. Industry and Trade Minister Martin Riman said he had dismissed Mr Hruda after an inspection uncovered evidence of shortcomings at the state investment and business development agency. An Industry Ministry spokesperson said that CzechInvest had acted at variance with the law several times during the awarding of public tenders. Mr Hruda said the minister was free to appoint whom he liked, but said the reasons given for his sacking were untrue, and cast aspersions on all the agency's staff. He will be replaced by Roman Cermak.
Police in Romania have arrested a group of alleged people traffickers who they say sold Romanian labourers as virtual slaves in the Czech Republic, the AFP news agency reported. The Romanian authorities say the group promised workers high earnings in the Czech Republic but then sold them for 150 euros per person to Czech or Ukrainian middlemen. The workers then had their documents taken and were made to work for little money and small amounts of food. Some of them managed to escape and returned home with help from the Romanian Embassy in Prague. An estimated 500 people were abused in this way, AFP reported.
The Febio Fest film festival came to a close in Prague on Friday night with the presentation of awards voted on by Czech film critics. The Kristian prize for Best Film went to Robert Sedlacek, director of Pravidla Lzi. Linda Jablonska took the Best Documentary award for Kupredu leva, kupredu prava, while Michaela Pavlatova won Best Animated Film for Karneval zvirat. Febio Fest, now in its 14th year, was attended by around 70,000 viewers in the capital. It now moves on to the regions.
The town hall in Cesky Tesin, north Moravia is to give some social welfare recipients coupons for food and other goods instead of money. The move is part of a new Social Affairs Ministry pilot project to help families in which the parents spend their social welfare on alcohol or gambling machines. The authorities in Cesky Tesin are planning to begin giving the food stamps to around 50 families from the beginning of May. The government is planning to announce a package of social welfare and tax reforms next week.
The Civic Democrats executive committee has called on the party's deputies' and senators' groups to nominate President Vaclav Klaus for re-election next year. Mr Klaus has himself made public his desire to remain in office after his current five-year term ends. But while his own party executive was giving the president its backing, the opposition Social Democrats called on its deputies and senators not to back Mr Klaus. At a party conference on Saturday leader Jiri Paroubek described Mr Klaus as a shifty populist who is ideologically dogmatic and not modern.
Sparta Prague football club are opening a new sector at their Toyota Arena especially for children in what is a first in the Czech league. It will only be open to children under the age of 15 and their parents, club spokesman Lukas Pribyl told Mlada fronta Dnes. Mr Pribyl said Sparta were hoping to attract more children and youths; he said this segment of society was currently absent from football stadiums and had great potential.
Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek has described comments made about Romanies
by Deputy Prime Minister Jiri Cunek as xenophobic. Speaking at a meeting
the leadership of his Civic Democrats, Mr Topolanek said the party
distanced themselves from Mr Cunek's words. Asked by a newpaper whether
other people should receive state subsidies like Romanies, Mr Cunek said
non-Roma would need to get a suntan - an allusion to the colour of
Romanies' skin - cause chaos with their families and light fires on town
squares before politicians would regard them as badly off.
Jiri Cunek rose to national prominence last year after expelling Romany rent-defaulters from the centre of the town of Vsetin, where he was then mayor.
Mr Cunek, who is leader of the Christian Democrats and regional development minister, is currently under police investigation for alleged bribe-taking when he was mayor of Vsetin. He has resisted calls to resign from the government.
Most of the Czech Republic's castles and chateaux have opened their doors to the public after the winter break, Pravo reported. Many have installed new collections and exhibitions ahead of the new season, the daily said. Preparations at Krivoklat castle included calling out the local police, after a pre-war pistol was found in a well. Among the chateaux which reopened on Saturday was the one in Telc, which was voted "most fairytale-like" in an internet poll.
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