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Portuguese Unions Protest Austerity Measures

Portuguese Unions Protest Austerity Measures

Portugal's two biggest unions have launched a day of strikes to protest planned austerity measures.

The strikes Wednesday affected the transport sector, grounding flights and causing the cancelation of some bus and train services. Banking services and other businesses, including an automotive plant were also affected.

Unions, representing both public and private sector workers, expected the stoppage to be the biggest in 20 years.

The government proposes to address a budget crisis by slashing spending, including wage cuts for public workers.

European Council President Herman van Rompuy said Tuesday Portugal does not need the kind of financial bailout the European Union is discussing with Ireland.

He said Portugal's banks are well capitalized, and that the country has not experienced the type of housing market collapse that has affected other economies.