THE Spanish government will postpone an announcement of planned changes to labour laws to allow more time for unions and business to reach a deal on cutting wage costs, the labour minister said yesterday.

Both unions and business groups had asked the government to push back the announcement planned for today, which will now be made on February 5, Labour Minister Celestino Corbacho told a news conference in Toldeo.

Government-sponsored talks between unions and business have restarted to try to find ways to modify a relatively uncompetitive labour market that has helped push unemployment close to 20 percent during the steep recession.

But the two sides, which held talks last year before they broke down, still seem far apart. Unions have threatened a general strike if the government accedes to business calls for it to be made easier to hire and fire workers.

The government is preparing a less ambitious reform to modify rules for temporary workers.


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