Spain's government pressing unions on pension reform

24th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain's government will push this week for a deal with unions on pension reforms which it intends to present on Friday, the employment ministry said.

The country's two main unions, the UGT and the CCOO have voiced fierce opposition to the government's plan to raise the legal retirement age from 65 to 67.

They have threatened a general strike if the measure is passed by the government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

But the government intends to present the plan to the cabinet on January 28, although negotiations with the unions will continue this week to try to forge a deal with them.

CCOO secretary general Ignacio Fernandez Toxo has warned that reaching a deal would be "difficult."

In a bid to reassure nervous investors, Zapatero confirmed on December 30 the government's commitment to the pension reform plan.

"We must take measures" because "the largest generation in the history of Spain will reach retirement" in the coming years, placing a massive burden on the social security system, he said.

The government is battling to slash the massive public deficit and soothe market fears that Spain could be trapped in the kind of European debt quagmire that has swamped Greece and Ireland.

© 2011 AFP

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