Brazil oil workers start 24-hour warning strike
BY JEFF FICK
RIO DE JANEIRO--Unions representing oil workers at Brazil's state-run Petrobras said Monday that workers had started a 24-hour "warning" strike, but crude oil output at the company is not expected to be affected.
The Brazilian Oil Workers Federation, or FUP, and the National Federation of Oil Workers, or FNP, said that the strike started Sunday afternoon and spread to other installations through Monday morning. Workers declined to change shifts at refineries and terminals, while workers at offshore platforms only performed routine services, a FUP spokeswoman said.
Workers were protesting Petrobras's latest profit-sharing offer, an FNP director said last week. FUP and FNP are umbrella unions that represent most of Petrobras's 80,000 employees on behalf of 17 affiliated unions.
Strikes such as Monday's typically involve slowdowns and work-to-rule actions that have limited affect on Petrobras's operations because of their short duration. The work action, however, comes as Petrobras struggles to boost crude-oil output amid ongoing maintenance at offshore platforms. Petrobras faced a similar 24-hour strike in September during salary negotiations.
Petrobras declined to comment Monday about any impact from the strike. In an email Friday, the company said that it was taking "all administrative and operational measures" to guarantee normal operations on Monday. "Petrobras continues to be open to negotiations with the unions so that all parties can reach an understanding about [the profit-sharing payment]," the company said.
FUP said that its board of directors would meet Wednesday to discuss potential plans for a larger strike, the FUP spokeswoman said. No further negotiating sessions between the unions and Petrobras have been scheduled, she added.
The last major strike at Petrobras took place in July 2008, when oil workers walked off the job for five days to protest work issues and profit-sharing proposals. The strike cost Petrobras about 63,000 bbl of crude oil production per day.
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