Spanish rail workers strike

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Employees at state-owned Spanish rail network Renfe observed a one-day strike on Friday over proposed changes in working conditions, two weeks ahead of a planned walkout by public sector workers.

Unions said 84 percent of Renfe workers took part, but the management put the figure at 15 percent.

Renfe said half a million passengers were affected out of the 1.8 million it would expect to transport throughout the day.

The company provided a minimum service with 65 to 75 percent of trains operating.

Renfe workers are seeking greater job security and a more transparent recruitment process. They have already staged strikes over the same issues in February and March.

The walkout comes ahead of a planned strike by Spain's civil servants on June 8 over a government austerity plan worth 15 billion euros (19 billion dollars) and which includes a five percent pay cut for the public sector.

The cuts are on top of a 50-billion-euro (63-billion-dollar) austerity package announced in January designed to slash public deficit to the eurozone limit of three percent of GDP by 2013 from 11.2 percent last year.

The country's two largest unions, the CCOO and the UGT, have also threatened to call a national general strike over planned labour reforms by the Socialist government.

© 2010 AFP

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