(Reuters) – Talks between the Spanish government, unions and businesses aimed at reaching agreement on wide-ranging labor reforms are in the final stages, Labour Minister Celestino Corbacho said on Tuesday.
Spanish unemployment has more than doubled since the beginning of the economic crisis as struggling construction and service industries hemorrhaged jobs and economists say reform is vital to avoid job market stagnation.
“We’re in the last stages of the process and in the next few days we’ll see a result … We hope it will be a favorable result, but whatever happens, there will be a reform before the end of this month,” he said in a television interview.
The ruling Socialists believe a joint agreement on the reform would be preferable and more sustainable than a unilateral government decree.
“The government has always understood a pact on the reform is better than an imposed reform,” Corbacho said.
The three-way talks originally were working toward a May 31 deadline before the government enforced its own proposals but a deal is proving elusive as the unions and companies struggle to find common ground.
The talks should be concluded, with or without agreement among the three parties, by the middle of next week at the latest, Corbacho said.
(Reporting by Paul Day, Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)