Spanish unions have been trying to gauge the level of opposition to budget cuts and labour reforms although results seem mixed.
Protest organisers say three quarters of the public sector workforce joined strikes on Tuesday. The government says just 11 percent of its employees took part, although this does not take into account regional government workers.
Those who did attend marches are angry at five percent pay cuts and a wage freeze for next year as the government tries to trim its deficit.
One female protester in Madrid said she earns 1,200 euros per month and the government would be taking 100 euros of that away.
Another union member said the problem was not money but dignity and respect.
Spain’s private sector workers have shown only lukewarm support for their public sector counterparts. But later today the government will present plans on labour reform that will impact on all Spanish workers. And that could bring many more angry voices onto the streets.