Madrid metro strike hits services for fourth day

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Madrid was hit by transport chaos for a fourth day Thursday as a strike by metro workers protesting pay cuts slashed services by half.

The 7,500 workers are protesting a wage cut of around 5.0 percent decided by the right-wing regional government in line with similar measures on public employees' pay adopted last month by Spain's Socialist government in an austerity drive.

The workers on Wednesday decided to prolong the strike on the metro's 12 lines, including the link to Madrid's Barajas airport, to Thursday and Friday, but promised they would ensure a minimum 50-percent service unlike in the past.

They will go back to work Saturday to Monday, when they will meet again, with the possibility of an open-ended strike thereafter.

About two million passengers normally take the metro system daily.

Trade unions plan a 24-hour general strike on September 29 against public spending cuts and reform of the labour laws.

© 2010 AFP

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