Spanish government meets unions ahead of mass protest | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 14, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 14, 2012

Spanish government meets unions ahead of mass protest

Spain's government on Monday defended reforms making it easier to slash pay and lay off workers in the face of a furious reaction from unions, which have called a nationwide protest.
Labour Minister Fatima Banez met main union leaders two days after the hotly contested decree came into force, but the conservative Popular Party government held its ground.
Angered by the new rules, unions including the Workers Commissions (CCOO) and General Union of Workers (UGT) called Saturday for a nationwide demonstration February 19.
The government, however, was steadfast.
"It is an important piece in the government's global strategy. We are catching up on lost time because the excutive has found itself in a very difficult situation," Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said.
"We have to act at full speed because Spain has been the country with the worst labour performance in Europe," he told Radio Cope.
The number of jobless people in Spain shot above five million at the end of 2011, sending the unemployment rate to 22.85 percent -- double the European average.

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