Brazil oil workers to stage 24-hour warning strike Monday
BY JEFF FICK
RIO DE JANEIRO--A union representing oil workers at Brazil's state-run energy company Petrobras,said late Friday that workers will stage a 24-hour "warning" strike to protest the company's latest profit-sharing offer, although crude oil output is not expected to be affected.
The National Federation of Oil Workers, or FNP, said its members voted to approve the strike this week. The FNP is an umbrella union representing about half of Petrobras's 80,000 employees. Workers at a sister umbrella union known as the Brazilian Oil Workers Federation, or FUP, will also participate in the strike.
Workers are protesting Petrobras's initial profit-sharing proposal made in December, which was less than half the payment oil workers received last year, said Eduardo Henrique Soares da Costa, a director for the FNP. "This is a 24-hour warning strike to add a little pressure to the negotiations and let Petrobras know that it needs to improve its offer," Mr. da Costa said.
Oil workers will decline to change shifts and halt services at installations across the country, but Mr. da Costa said that production will not be affected by the work action.
Strikes such as the one planned for Monday 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 said 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 in an email.
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 barrels of crude oil production per day.
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