BUENOS AIRES, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Some 23,000 Argentine oil and gas workers will go on a 48-hour strike beginning on Monday to protest state-owned oil company YPF SA's decision to lay off at least 1,600 workers, a union leader said on Friday.
The strike involves workers in southern Argentina's Vaca Muerta shale play, one of the largest unconventional reserves in the world and a region that has attracted investment from Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil Corp but remains largely unexplored.
YPF's layoffs will mainly affect workers who have remained on the payroll although their units have been inactive for the bulk of the year, a company source said on Thursday.
"We are demanding that those workers be re-hired," said Guillermo Pereyra, a national senator and secretary-general of a union representing oil and gas workers in Argentina's Neuquen, Rio Negro and La Pampa provinces.
Strikes and other labor protests are common in Argentina, where high inflation has prompted wage increase demands from many unions representing workers wary of losing purchasing power.
Pereyra said employment in the sector had been affected by an increase in fuel imports, given that the price of crude on world markets is well below the local price due to a government subsidy for domestic producers.
Argentina produces an estimated 716,000 barrels of oil per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency.
(Reporting by Eliana Raszewski and Juliana Castilla; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by David Gregorio)
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