Spanish unions call protests against debt cap

The unions have called meetings and demonstrations between Aug. 31 and Sept. 6

Spanish unions call protests against debt cap

Spain's main unions have organised street protests against a decision by government to put a constitutional cap on the budget deficit before a general election in November.

A surprise agreement between the governing Socialists and the opposition People's Party (PP) last week to enact a rare constitutional amendment to allow for the cap pleased international markets but stoked opposition in Spain.

It will be debated by parliament this week, with the upper house due to vote on Sept. 7.

"Their plans to reduce the current deficit will only be achieved at the detriment of society and the economy," Ramon Gorriz, secretary of Spain's largest trade union Comisiones Obreras, told reporters on Monday.

The unions have called meetings and demonstrations between Aug. 31 and Sept. 6 to urge lawmakers to vote against the amendment and to demand a referendum if it is approved.

The amendment would be only the second since Spain's constitution was drawn up in 1978 after the end of Francisco Franco's dictatorship. It will not include specific deficit cap figures, which will instead be written into a separate law before June 30, 2012.

The bipartisan deal is due to take effect in 2020 and follows calls by Germany and France for Spain and other states at the sharp end of the euro zone debt crisis to set binding limits on their deficits to regain the trust of investors.

Spain has cut its headline public sector deficit, one of the highest in the euro zone, to an expected level of around 6 percent of GDP at the end of this year, from 11.1 percent in 2009.

Unions staged a general strike last September angered to protest a range of government austerity measures to cut the deficit, and are expected to increase pressure following a likely victory by the conservative PP in Nov. 20 elections.

Reuters

Last Mod: 29 Ağustos 2011, 17:37
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