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H&M shopworkers in Spain call for strikes in June - unions

FILE PHOTO: H&M logo is seen on one of the Swedish retailer's shops

MADRID (Reuters) - Shop assistants at Swedish fashion retailer H&M stores in Spain will go on strike for three days in June to demand higher salaries and less work duties, the country's two largest unions said on Monday.

The strikes, called by the CCOO and UGT trade unions, will take place on June 20, June 24 and June 26, dates that coincide with the first days of the sales season. Around 4,000 shop assistants will down tools for four hours on the first day of strikes, according to a statement issued by the two organisations.

H&M did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the protests in Spain.

The planned protests followed several meetings between representatives of the two union groups with the fast fashion company over the last few months.

"We have asked the company to improve wages and work conditions of the staff... and after all these months, the company has not responded to our requests," the unions said, without adding more details on the salary demands.

The shop workers also complain of excessive work hours in stores as employees are forced to cover for colleagues on leave. The situation "can no longer be tolerated" when the summer sales begin, they said.

"We have planned demonstrations so that the company understands the discontent that exists among the staff," the groups added.

Last December, H&M agreed to pay a 500-euro ($538) bonus to shop workers in Spain and Portugal after arch-rival Zara owner Inditex offered a 1,000-euro bonus to shop assistants in Spain.

Early this year, Inditex agreed to a 20% rise in average wages for shop workers in Zara's home market of Spain in response to workers' demands for higher pay to offset soaring consumer prices.

($1 = 0.9291 euros)

(Reporting by Corina Pons, with additional reporting of Marie Mannes in Stockholm; editing by Charlie Devereux and Ed Osmond)