PDVSA Employees Give Government an Ultimatum

The PDVSA's workers assembly yesterday voted to give the government one week to begin to restructure the board of directors and replace three managers that were forced to resign last week.

PDVSA managers, administrators and technicians are protesting the appointment last month of five PDVSA employees to the board that they say were selected for their political loyalty to President Hugo Chavez and aren't the most qualified for the job. ``This situation obliges us to publicly express our rejection of the measures taken and we expect an immediate reconsideration, or we will take action,'' the assembly said in a statement. The assembly didn't say what action it would take if the government didn't meet its ultimatum. The employees have held protests marches, work slowdowns and a one-day strike to demand that they be allowed to nominate additional board members or that the new board members resign. The workers earlier said they may stage a full scale strike if the government doesn't restructure the board. The three workers forced to resign were Armando Izquierda, a public affairs manager; Oscar Murillo, legal counsel; and Edgar Rasquin, a manager at the Paraguana refinery. PDVSA manages Venezuela's 2.5 million barrels of oil production a day.