Czech parliament approves austerity measures

Parliament has approved a package of unpopular austerity measures designed to reduce the Czech Republic's deficit.

Friday's approval by the Senate follows a Nov. 2 green light from Parliament's lower house. To become law, the plan now must be signed by Presidential Vaclav Klaus, who supports it.

The package — opposed by the nation's unions — includes welfare cuts and a 10 percent reduction in the money allocated for public sector employees. The measures aim to reduce the budget deficit from 5.3 percent of gross domestic product this year to 4.6 percent in 2011.

To protest, state employees in the nation plan a one-day strike on Dec. 8.

In September, tens of thousands of public workers rallied in Prague to protest such cuts.