Spain's second largest trade union, the Union General de Trabajadores, has proposed June 2 for a public workers strike to protest against the government's proposed salary cuts, a spokeswoman for the union said on Thursday.
The UGT joins its larger peer Comisiones Obreras who called for a public sector workers strike earlier.
A June 2 strike would fall on the day before Madrid's Corpus Cristi public holiday ensuring maximum take-up by public servants in Spain's capital.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez announced fresh spending cuts on Thursday focused on the public sector, including plans to cut public servants' wages by 5 percent in 2010 and freeze them in 2011.
Meanwhile, Spain's two biggest unions will stage a one-day public sector strike to protest against wage cuts aimed at bringing the budget deficit under control and preventing Spain following Greece's path.
The unions held almost 3 hours of talks with Zapatero to discuss his austerity plan, announced yesterday under pressure from Spain's EU partners and the United States.
They told Zapatero they 'totally disagreed' with his plan to cut public sector wages by an average 5 percent in 2010 and introduce a freeze in 2011, and reduce public investment spending by six billion euros.
"This afternoon we will call a meeting ... which will lead to a public sector strike," said a spokesman for Comisiones Obreras (CCOO).
The sister UGT unions said they would put forward June 2 as the date.
That would fall on the day before Madrid's Corpus Cristi public holiday ensuring maximum take-up by public servants in Spain's capital and leading to possible disruptions in the travel plans for many Spaniards over the long weekend.
But a full scale general strike is not planned for now.
"That is the last thing this country needs at a time like this," Ignacio Fernandez Toxo, the general secretary of Comisiones Obreras, told private broadcaster Punto Radio.
Talk of a general strike has threatened Zapatero's government on several occasions, although analysts question the extent to which the public would respond to such a measure.
"At most a general strike, which I don't think is probable, would be a gesture on the part of the unions to save face. But it wouldn't have massive support from the public," said a Spanish economist who declined to be named.
"It certainly wouldn't be anything like what we have seen in Greece." Three people were killed during protests and strikes in Greece which brought tens of thousands of people onto the streets following the announcement of tough austerity measures.
Toxo said he would wait until the cabinet gave more details of the cuts at a weekly meeting on Friday.
The Madrid bourse fell 1.3 percent amid market concern over possible delays by the government in applying the proposed austerity measures.
Analysts view Spain as another weak link in the euro zone and consider it at risk of succumbing to a debt crisis similar to that which has shaken Greece and the euro.
With unemployment running at close to 20 percent, the economy expected to shrink 0.3 percent this year and a deficit of 9.3 percent, Spain is struggling to gain the confidence of financial markets.
"Zapatero's unveiling of the measures was fine, but the actual situation in Spain is still difficult and foreign investors don't want to know about us, and hedge funds are very active," a trader said.
"What the market demands is that these measures take effect forthwith," she added.
© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.