Staff at Spain's Parador hotels start 2-day strike

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MADRID (AP) -- Employees of Spain's premium hotel chain Parador, a state-run group that uses castles, monasteries and palaces, are holding a two-day strike to protest job cuts and possible closures.

The Parador hotels group, which started in 1928, says a drop in demand could leave it with accumulated losses of €107 million ($140 million) by the end of the year. It intends to cut 644 jobs out of a workforce of 4,400.

Trade union spokesman Antonio Ruda said Friday the losses are partly due to the cost of refurbishing hotel buildings that don't even belong to the chain. "Workers are being are being asked to sacrifice their livelihoods to justify repairing church-owned buildings likely to be sold."

There are 94 Parador hotels in historic buildings in some of Spain's most beautiful locations.