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Public workers in Madrid strike against Spain’s austerity plan

Stephen Beard Jun 8, 2010
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Public workers in Madrid strike against Spain’s austerity plan

Stephen Beard Jun 8, 2010
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Workers in Madrid are protesting the Spanish government’s austerity plan, a response the country has taken to get their financial crisis under control.

This is the first strike against public sector workers against Spain’s 15 billion-euro austerity plan, which would cut public spending, bring budget deficit under control and cut public sector wages by 5 percent. The reforms would allow employers to hire and fire workers more easily.

Unions estimate 2.5 million workers in the movement, but it’s unclear how many workers have responded to the call to protest, according to Marketplace’s Stephen Beard. City services have not shut down and hasn’t yet seen the levels of violence met when Greek workers protested the government austerity plan there.

Today’s strike is a major concern to markets in the Eurozone story. Investors will be watching very carefully as Spain could potentially borrow $20 billion by end of next month to balance its budget. Spain is the fourth-biggest economy that uses the euro, and resorting to a bailout fund could have a huge impact on the euro and send a negative signal.

Spanish unions hope they can use the workers’ strike to gauge the public’s reaction to the government’s plans. If results are favorable, the unions will push ahead with a much bigger strike next month. If not, the government will have more power to enact the labor market reforms.

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