STRIKE PLANS: Spanish labor unions mounted their first big challenge to the country's new government Friday, calling a general strike for March 29 to protest new labor reforms and austerity measures.

AT ISSUE: The reforms slash the cost of firing workers and make it easier to do so. Salaries can be lowered unilaterally, and companies can lay off employees at the cheapest level of severance pay by reporting three straight months of declining revenue.

OFFICIAL REACTION: Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said a strike will not help a country with more than 5 million people out of work.