MADRID - Spain's labour ministry said late on Monday it reached an agreement with labour unions and representatives of employers to extend the ERTE furloughs scheme for workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic until the end of February 2022.

The measure to support workers, which was due to end on Sept. 30, has been "important" during the pandemic, the ministry said in a statement.

Workers in sectors such as tourism and transportation have been particularly hard hit by lockdowns and travel restrictions.

It is the sixth extension to the scheme since Spain imposed its first lockdown in March 2020.

The number of furloughed people stands at about 270,000, down from a peak of 3.6 million last year.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro and Belen Carreno; editing by Jason Neely) ((;))