Saturday, 22 May 2010

Spanish workers to call general strike

SPAIN'S largest union Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) could call a general strike to protest against planned austerity measures, its head said on Friday.

Report Reuters: "CCOO head Ignacio Fernandez Toxo said he would 'probably' invoke a general strike over the Socialist government's 'right-wing economic policy, financial speculation and the markets'.

"Spain has the highest levels of unemployment in the euro zone at 20 percent, up from a 2007-low of 8 percent, after a burst property bubble and consumer spending slump left millions from the construction and service sector without work.

"After protests in Greece turned violent in early May, there are concerns Spain could follow the same route, as the government makes drastic spending cuts in an effort to convince markets its public finances are under control.

"Investors fear Spain's Socialist government will be unable to reduce its budget deficit, from 11.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2009.

"United States President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have called on the Spanish government for reforms over concerns of potential contagion from the failure of an economy more than three times the size of Greece's."