Spain government says to freeze public sector wages in 2012

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Spain will extend a public sector pay freeze for another year in 2012 and freeze the hiring of civil servants to reduce the public deficit, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said Friday.

"We will maintain the freeze included in the 2011 budget," she told a news conference following her new conservative government's second cabinet meeting since taking office last week which approved the measures.

The previous Socialist government slashed public sector wages by an average of 5.0 percent in May 2010 before freezing civil servant salaries this year.

Spain's new government also decided to freeze public sector hiring in all areas except for health, education, policing and tax inspection, the deputy prime minister said.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's Popular Party won a general election on November 20 in a landslide, putting an end to nearly eight years of Socialist rule.

He has vowed to revive Spain's economy and meet Madrid's commitment to the European Union to slash the public deficit down to to 4.4 percent of gross domestic product in 2012.

© 2011 AFP

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