Hundreds of people have taken to the streets in the Spanish capital Madrid and several other cities to protest against a government labor reform that make it easier to cut pay and lay off workers.
Hundreds of protesters in Madrid gathered outside the parliament on Thursday, when lawmakers were debating inside over proposed changes to the reform, which was formerly passed by a decree in February.
The reform allows Spanish companies to pull out of collective bargaining agreements and have greater flexibility to adjust employees' schedules, workplace tasks and wages, as well as making it easier and less costly to fire workers.
The protests were organized by Spain’s two biggest labor unions, the CCOO and UGT, which staged a general strike in March against the labor market reform.
The protesters hold banners reading "No to junk contracts" and "No to a labor reform that is unfair to workers."
CCOO head Ignacio Fernandez Toxo said at the Madrid demonstration that the government’s reform would hasten “the destruction of jobs” in the country.
UGT leader Candido Mendez also insisted that the unions would not stop denouncing the reform and demand the government to change it in depth.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that the reforms were needed to revive the economy and reduce unemployment rate of 24.4 per cent, which is the highest rate in the industrialized world.
Tens of thousands of people across Spain have staged dozens of demonstrations against the harsh austerity measures imposed by the government since last year.