Prime Minister cancels higher taxation of employee benefits to avert transport strike
The Czech prime minister, Jan Fischer, on Tuesday afternoon cancelled the higher taxation of employee benefits, giving in to the demands of transport union leaders that had threatened to go on a nation-wide strike to take place on Thursday. Earlier on Tuesday, Parliament deputies and union leaders discussed a possible amendment to the act on value added tax that would cancel higher taxation of employee benefits. The talks broke up after Civic Democrat deputies, who have a majority in the Senate, confirmed their opposition to the proposed change and said they would block any proposals which would increase the country’s already steep budget deficit. But the prime minister decided to push through a cancellation of the higher taxation, stating he wanted to make sure the country would not be in upheaval before the upcoming general elections in May. It is still possible, however, that the amendment will not pass before the Senate and the union leaders have not yet cancelled Thursday’s nationwide transport strike.