Spain’s two main union confederations, UGT and CCOO, called a one-day general strike on 29 March over issues similar to those sparking the strike wave in Italy.
In a country with 23% unemployment, the new conservative government wants to change the law to make it easier for employers to sack workers.
The executives of UGT and CCOO met jointly, for the first time in history, on 9 March, to decide to call the strike.
The government’s proposals weaken collective bargaining by giving precedence to company-level agreements; allow employers to unilaterally reduce wages or change working hours and labour terms; and provide for new employment contracts under workers can be hired and then sacked without ado for up to a year. They also cut jobless benefits and make layoffs easier.
In Portugal, workers staged a general strike on 22 March, against moves by Portugal’s conservative government to make it easier bosses to sack workers.
The strike, called by the CGTP confederation, halted trains, shut ports and paralysed most public transport, but was weakened by lack of support from the other main confederation, UGT.