Petrobras Workers Threaten 24-Hour Strike Over Wages

RIO DE JANEIRO - Workers at Brazilian oil-and-gas producer Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or Petrobras, rejected a pay offer made by the company late Wednesday and have threatened to stage a 24-hour nationwide strike on September 26 if their demands aren't met.

The Federal Oil Workers Union, known as FUP, rejected a 6.5% pay-raise offer made by Petrobras as part of an annual renegotiation of a collective labor agreement. The wage offer represents an increase of approximately 1% over the annual consumer inflation rate. However, FUP is pressing for a 10% pay increase, which would give its workers a "rise in real terms," a spokeswoman for FUP said.

FUP on Thursday started to hold a series of members' assemblies throughout Brazil at which around 80,000 Petrobras workers will determine if they will move forward with a proposal for the September 26 strike. The result of the assemblies will be known Monday, the spokeswoman said.

"The strike will bother Petrobras but won't really affect production as a minimum production level strategy will be maintained at the company's installations," the spokeswoman said.

Petrobras said Thursday that negotiations on the labor accord continue and the company expects to reach an agreement with the trade unions.


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