Last minute negotiations between Czech Airlines pilots and management have failed to avert a planned strike starting Tuesday afternoon. Following weeks of controversy with Czech Airlines management over higher wages and improved contracts most of the national carrier's 350 pilots say they will join Tuesday's indefinite strike. Charter flights however are to remain unaffected. The airlines' management is reportedly taking measures to minimize the impact of the strike on passengers, but the situation is complicated by the fact that pilots flying for Air France, Delta Airlines, Alitalia, Aero Mexico and Korean Air support their Czech colleagues and have urged their companies not to reinforce flights to the Czech capital. Contrary to expectations, the Labour Ministry has not appointed a mediator who would try to resolve the conflict.
The European Commission's ambassador to Prague Mr. Ramiro Cibrian has said he is convinced that the process of ratifying the EU accession treaty by the unions 15 members should go smoothly. At a press conference in Prague on Monday, Mr. Cibrian congratulated Czechs on endorsing EU accession in a historic referendum and said it was a wonderful conclusion to his mission in Prague. After four and a half years in the Czech Republic, Mr. Cibrian is leaving his post, to be replaced by the current charge d'affaires Mr. Ralf Dreyer. Over the past twelve months Mr. Cibrian covered 35,000 kilometers, visited eighty towns and cities and held debates on EU membership with over 10,000 people in near-fluent Czech. "It has been hectic, but worthwhile" he told reporters.
President Vaclav Klaus has come under fire for his non-committal stand regarding the country's accession to the EU. Finance Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Labour Minister Zdenek Skromach have both criticized the head of state for failing to take a public stand on so crucial an issue. President Klaus appealed to voters to go to the polls and make a prudent decision, but he refused to commit one way or another or to say how he himself would vote. "This is not a stand befitting a president" minister Sobotka told newsmen, pointing out that the presidents of Poland, Hungary and Slovakia had led their country's pro EU campaigns.
National Museum employees have gone on strike alert in protest of cuts in spending within the government proposed budget reform. A spokesman for the National Museum said that even now the museum lacked funds for maintenance and restoration work and its employees were among the worst paid specialists in the country. Salaries at the national museum are reportedly 35% below the national average.
Tuesday is expected to be partly cloudy with day temperatures between 24 and 27 degrees Celsius.
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