Spain’s parliament the Cortes has approved controversial changes in employment law put forward by the government of Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero.
The new rules make it harder for the unemployed to refuse a job-offer or a training scheme. They also make it easier for companies to hire and fire staff.
The lower house originally approved the bill in June but the Senate introduced several amendments before voting it through at the end of August.
Now MPs have approved those changes as well.
At 20 per cent, Spain has the second highest rate of unemployment in the EU.
Despite traditionally good relations with the socialist government, the reforms are highly unpopular with trade unions. There have been vociferous protests already and a general strike has been called for the end of the month.