Spain's trade unions propose to challenge in court the government's plans to cut public servants pay, leaders of Spain's second largest union, the UGT, said on Wednesday.
The government announced last week it would cut public servants' pay by 5 percent this year as part of an austerity plan totalling 15 billion euros ($18.6 billion) aimed at slashing the country's deficit.
Spain is desperately trying to fend off market comparisons with troubled Greece that have hit the whole euro zone.
The government says wage cuts are needed to bring the budget deficit to below 3 percent of gross domestic product, in line with a euro zone ceiling meant to prevent debt from piling up.
Unions say the wage cuts are misguided, arguing they will aggravate the economic downturn.
"There are substantial reasons for challenging this measure in the courts," said Julio Lacuerda, the head of the Public and Social services division of the UGT.
The proposed cut in civil service wages this year contravenes the terms of the collective bargaining agreement signed on Sept. 25, 2009, a spokeswoman for the UGT division said.
The country's other main union, CCOO, said it is also considering taking legal action.
The government announced its austerity plan last Wednesday sparking immediate union anger with its bid to reassure markets that it can get its budget deficit under control.
The measures, due to be approved by the cabinet on Thursday, will now reduce the budget deficit to 9.3 percent of GDP this year from 11.2 percent in 2009. It will fall to 6 percent in 2011 and be cut to 3 percent of GDP by 2013.
Spain's two unions have generally enjoyed close relations with the Socialist government, but the measures announced last Wednesday will hit their members hard.
A public sector workers' strike has been called for June 8, with a general strike also threatened.
ReutersLast Mod: 19 Mayıs 2010, 22:04