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Spanish labor unions pleased with general strike turnout, warn of more protests

(Xinhua)

08:01, March 31, 2012

MADRID, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Leaders of Spain's main labor unions UGT and CC.OO on Friday expressed their satisfaction with the effects of Thursday's general strike in protest at spending cuts and labor reforms.

The unions and government have debated the scale of the strike, with the unions claiming millions of people, accounting for 77 percent of the country's workforce, heeded the strike call and Mariano Rajoy's government insisting 800,000 people took part in the marches throughout Spain.

Speaking on Spanish national radio, UGT leader Candido Mendez said the mobilizations had been a success and said the unions would contest Rajoy's labor reforms, which make it much easier for companies to sack workers and pay lower compensation, in Spain's constitutional court.

He also warned that Thursday's strike would not be the last unless the government changed track. "If Rajoy doesn't correct the reform, they will have to maintain this confrontation," he said.

"They are acting as if nothing has happened," said CC.OO leader Ignacio Fernandez Toxo, referring to the government's reaction to the strike.

Rajoy's ministers all insisted they would do nothing to change their policy of labor reform and fiscal austerity.

The CC.OO leader warned that the current policies "could lead to a serious deterioration in an economic situation that cannot resist much more."

The union leaders announced they will wait a month to see if the government is prepared to soften its viewpoint, or else both UGT and CC.OO will call for further demonstrations.

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