Eight firemen posed in the nude in a Spanish town yesterday to protest against sweeping new government austerity measures that include public sector wage cuts and tax increases.

The firefighters emerged one by one from their fire station in the northern town of Mieres near Oviedo wearing just their black helmets and boots and lined up side by side against a wall with their backs to the assembled press.

“With so many cuts we have been left naked,” declared a banner on the wall above them.

Among the new steps is the cutting of the Christmas bonus paid to civil servants, equivalent to a seven per cent reduction in annual pay, and a rise in sales tax that is likely to hit consumers.

The loss of the bonus comes on top of another pay cut of an average of five per cent in 2010, which was followed by a salary freeze.

“We are protesting because they are reducing our salary and now they are getting rid of the Christmas bonus,” one fireman said

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