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LABOR UNREST

Spain’s main unions call for general strike on November 14

Date falls in Catalan election campaign and coincides with pan-European labor protest against austerity policies

Spain’s main labor unions, CCOO and UGT, plan to call a general strike for November 14 to protest the government’s austerity drive, just eight months after the last country-wide stoppage.

The stoppage will be formally called at a top level meeting on Friday. This will be the first time two general strikes have been held in the same year. A meeting will also be held of the so-called Social Summit, which groups together some 200 social organizations opposed to the government’s economic policies.

The decision to go ahead with the stoppage came just hours after the European Trade Union Confederation called for strikes and demonstrations against the belt-tightening movement in Europe on November 14.

The Portuguese union CGTP has called for a national strike on November 14, while stoppages are also expected in Cyprus and Greece.

CCOO and UGT sources said the proposal to hold a pan-European mobilization came from the Spanish labor unions which have been in talks on the issue with their Portuguese counterparts since a few months back.

The strike will coincide with campaigning for regional elections in Catalonia on November 25. CCOO and UGT have never previously called for a general strike during election periods.