České dráhy (Czech Railways), the largest state-owned company and Czech largest employer announced on 11 January 2005 a massive wave of dismissals aimed at enhancing effectiveness. As the collective agreement for 2005 has not been concluded, a lot of workers have lost employees benefits and are threatened more and more by dismissals. It was stated that about 3,300 employees lost their jobs during the first quarter of 2005 more than a half of a planned number of 6,000 this year. In April 2005, management announced its intention to lay off 8,000 workers by the end of 2005. Trade unions were ready to call a strike. In May 2005, a new general director of the company, Josef Bazala, initiated negotiations with trades unions in order to limit maximum number of 6,000 dismissals for 2005 and to avert industrial action. Unionists managed to withdraw some 800 to 1,000 notices or at least to postpone them until a collective agreement is concluded so that released people could benefit from social employment programme.