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Spain's unions have threatened to launch a general strike if labour reforms contained in an $18bn austerity package, which parliament passed by one vote on Thursday, are implemented.

Many fear the spending cuts will exacerbate the country's job crisis, with unemployment running at 20 per cent.

But Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the country's prime minister, insists that the measures are vital to bring the country's alarming budget deficit under control.

Tim Friend reports.

Source: Al Jazeera