Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:10PM GMT
The major Spanish trade unions, Union General de Trabajadores (UGT) and Workers' Commissions (CCOO), have called for a general strike across the country on July 19, to protest against the new austerity package.
"Not one of the approved measures implies any effort by businesses and those on highest incomes," the unions announced in a statement.
The Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy unveiled on Wednesday new austerity package to avert financial collapse.
According to the new austerity measures, value added tax goes up to 21 percent from 18 percent, and the reduced rate on some products such as food goes up to 10 percent from eight percent.
The country’s Public administration is also to be reformed to save 3.5 billion euros, including a drastic cut in the number of publically owned enterprises and a 30-percent cut in the number of local councilors.
Rajoy’s announcement of a new raft of austerity measures came as thousands of miners stung by a huge cut in government subsidies marched through downtown Madrid on Wednesday.
The Spanish police fired rubber bullets to disperse the protesters who were angry with a 63 percent cut in subsidies to coal mining companies.
Spain's economy shrank by 0.3 percent in the first quarter of the year as the country fell back into recession for the first time in three years.
The Spanish government expects the economy to contract by 1.7 percent in 2012. However, many analysts have warned that tough austerity measures could worsen the slump.