Spanish police officers march for higher wages

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Thousands of off-duty Spanish police officers marched through the streets of Madrid Saturday to demand higher salaries and improved working hours in their second protest over the issue in five months.

MADRID - Some 22,000 national police from across Spain took part in the peaceful march, according to the four police unions which organised the demonstration, compared to 20,000 during the last protest held on 18 October.

Spain's national police want their salaries to match those of Spain's regional governments, which are higher, and shorter work hours.

"Until the interior ministry recognises our situation we will continue to demand our rights," the president of the Unified Police Union, Jose Manuel Sanchez, told public radio RNE.

The government argued national police have received an average pay raise of 3.0 percent this year, compared to an average of 2.0 percent for all other public workers.

"The current economic situation and the indispensable budget austerity that is needed to face up to it make it very difficult to meet the demands of police unions, despite the government's desire to hold talks," the interior ministry said in a statement issued after the march wrapped up.

AFP / Expatica

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