Last-ditch effort to stop strike fails

A last-ditch effort by Prime Minister Petr Nečas to prevent a nationwide strike on Thursday has failed. Mr Nečas promised the employers and union leaders at Wednesday morning’s tripartite talks that the Parliament would not deal with health care reform this week, and warned that the strike would cause economic damages and bring nothing of benefit. The unions welcomed the promise and said they would do everything possible to prevent damages, but that the strike was to go ahead. Trains and city transport services will come to a halt for 24 hours starting at midnight Wednesday. The strike is in protest of pensions, health care and tax reforms planned by the centre-right government. The cabinet has said it is willing to negotiate, but trade unions insist that the concessions offered are inadequate.