A strike by public sector workers in Spain is being watched carefully by both unions and the government.
It is the first chance to test just how much public opposition there is to recently announced austerity measures aimed at reigning in the budget deficit.
Public sector workers face average wage cuts of five percent this year, and a freeze for 2011.
The government wants to save 15 billion euros across the board this year and next.
“It’s not possible that cuts in public funding can somehow lead to financial growth. It just means people won’t buy as much and so there will be less growth.” was the opinion of one union member.
More than 2.5 million people work in the public sector and hundreds of thousands are expected to show solidarity.
State-run hospitals and schools are likely to be affected by walk-outs by some staff, although miniumum services are guaranteed.
Those in-the-know say today’s action is a shot across the government’s bows before unions get details of it’s long-awaited plans for labour reform, due on Wednesday.