Strikes and markets pile the pressure on Madrid

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The Independent Online

Spanish bond yields headed higher again yesterday, hitting 5.96 per cent amid lingering doubt about when, or if, Spain will seek financial aid.

The country's request for help is a precondition to the ECB's bond-buying programme but the government has been reluctant to do so, worried about the further austerity measures that could be required in a full bailout.

Spain is in its second recession in three years, with near 25 per cent unemployment. Hundreds of train services were cancelled yesterday as rail and underground workers became the latest to stage strikes in protests at wage cuts and at government plans to privatise the railways in an attempt to slash the public deficit.