* Santander, unions to begin talks on job cuts - report
* Bankia also negotiating massive cuts with unions
* Spanish unemployment set to rise in 2013 (Adds details on Bankia and Spanish unemployment)
MADRID, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Spain’s largest bank Santander will cut 3,000 jobs following its planned merger with its Banesto subsidiary, Cinco Dias reported on Friday, citing sources from unions and close to the bank.
Santander announced plans to fully absorb its 110 year-old Banesto brand last month, closing 700 branches to cut longer-term costs.
The bank had warned of gradual but heavy job losses when it announced the deal but did not give a specific number. Official talks with unions over the cuts will open on Jan. 9, Cinco Dias said.
No one at Santander was immediately available for comment.
Nationalised Spanish lender Bankia will also begin talks with unions on Jan. 9 over previously announced plans to lay-off 6,000 of its 20,000-strong staff, Europa Press reported.
Spanish unemployment, already at a record high of 25 percent, is expected to keep growing in 2013 as other nationalised banks and struggling companies continue to cut staff in a weak economy.
Spanish airline Iberia, owned by the International Airline Group is negotiating 4,500 job cuts - a quarter of its workforce - with unions as part of a wider restructuring it says is necessary for its very survival. (Reporting By Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)