Union: Colombia Oil Worker Strike Could Begin On March 19

Reuters

BOGOTA, March 13 (Reuters) - Colombia's main oil workers' union could start a threatened indefinite strike on March 19, its leader said on Friday, after previously saying the nationwide stoppage could begin any time after March 26.

Union leader Edwin Castano said members of the USO would join a 24-hour strike organized by the CUT umbrella union next Thursday and added that it may start its own indefinite action on that day.

Colombia's largest oil producer, state-run Ecopetrol says a contingency plan that will deploy staff to essential positions in the field will enable it to sustain regular output if the strike goes ahead.

Strike action by Ecopetrol employees is illegal because Colombian law prohibits stoppages in industries or job functions considered an essential public service. Many USO members work for third-party contractors hired by Ecopetrol.

Castano said he expected national oil production would be hit to some extent even if the stoppage is limited to next Thursday's event, which will start at 0600 (1100 GMT).

The USO is angered over thousands of layoffs across Colombia's million-barrel-per-day oil sector, and by Ecopetrol plans to shed some assets at a time when much lower oil prices are strangling cash flow.

"Workers are not accepting that this situation be blamed on the price scenario ... Oil policy has been badly handled in recent years. They have given tax breaks to companies. Today they are seeking to fire personnel," he said.

"We cannot be the ones who pay for the broken plates," Castano said.

International crude prices have halved since June last year. The London-traded Brent contract was hovering around $56 per barrel on Friday.

(Reporting by Peter Murphy; Editing by Grant McCool)

Copyright 2017 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Click on the button below to add a comment.
Post a Comment
Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.

Events  SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

Our Privacy Pledge
SUBSCRIBE



Most Popular Articles

From the Career Center
Jobs that may interest you
Project Administrator
Expertise: HR - General|Secretarial or Administrative
Location: CT 06098, United States, CT
 
Wind Site Manager - Operations & Maintenance
Expertise: Operations Management
Location: Vermont, VT
 
Switchgear Systems Service Manager - Power Distribution
Expertise: Operations Management
Location: Nashville, TN
 
search for more jobs

Brent Crude Oil : $55.47/BBL 0.69%
Light Crude Oil : $52.48/BBL 0.30%
Natural Gas : $3.41/MMBtu 0.29%
Updated in last 24 hours