Monday, May 24, 2010

Spanish Unions Moving Toward General Strike

DJ Spanish Unions Moving Toward General Strike - Union Leader
MADRID (Dow Jones)--Spain's biggest unions are starting to prepare for a general strike, the leader of the Comisiones Obreras union said Monday, after the government approved new austerity measures to reduce the country's towering budget deficit.
"I think Spain doesn't need a general strike at the moment...but I think we are moving toward one," Ignacio Fernandez Toxo said in an interview with Spanish public television TVE.
Thursday, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government approved spending cuts that include a 5% cut in public-sector wages this year and a freeze on pensions next year.
Toxo said that the measures weren't agreed with unions or other political parties and that they contravene existing agreements on public-sector pay. He also said they will weigh on Spain's already weak economy.
Unions have called a strike for public-sector employees June 8.
On the subject of labor-market reform, unions and employer groups have entered a "week that I hope will be decisive," Toxo said. "I hope we will have an agreement by the end of this week," he added.
For the last couple of months, unions and employers have been discussing measures to reduce Spain's structurally high unemployment rate. If they fail to reach an agreement, the government has signaled it is prepared to legislate reforms.
-By Jonathan House and Daniel de la Puente, Dow Jones Newswires;

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