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Unions in Prague protest for better treatment of workers
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10:11, May 17, 2009

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About 20,000 Czech and foreign trade union members marched in Prague on Saturday to ask for better treatment of workers during the economic crisis.

The Czech protesters, joined by colleagues from Germany, Italy, France and eight other countries, gathered outside Prague Castle, which houses the Czech presidency.

The marchers demanded the abolishment of plans put in place by the former Czech cabinet to make it easier for employers to hire and fire workers during the economic downturn.

The plans would help employers abuse the financial crisis and fire more workers, the union workers said.

They also asked the current caretaker cabinet to improve laborers' working conditions and the pension system.

The demonstration was part of a coordinated effort by European labor unions to protect jobs. Similar demonstrations took place in Madrid and Brussels earlier this week.

The export-oriented Czech economy was hit hard by the economic crisis. Czech's unemployment rate grew to 7.9 percent in April as the economy contracted by a record 3.4 percent in the first quarter of 2009.

Source: Xinhua

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