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Spanish union asks for less work hours

SPAIN'S second-largest union UGT is calling for a four-day work week to bring the country's working hours into line with the rest of Europe and increase productivity, its general secretary said yesterday.

"Of the original 15-member European Union, Spain has the longest working day and yet we're the least productive," UGT's Candido Mendez told Spanish financial daily Expansion.

The measure also fits with the union's strategy to make Spanish working hours ?? which generally run from 9am until 8pm with three hours for the traditional afternoon siesta ?? more adaptable to family life.

Mendez also called for increased government action to fight the deepening economic crisis in Spain, where unemployment has hit 15 percent and is rising fast.

Some sectors have threatened strikes against the crisis but Mendez said UGT will only use such measures to protest specific actions on workers' rights and employee protection. "We're not going down that path," he said.


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