Brazilian Oil Workers Back on the Job

Petrobras oil workers ended their one-day warning strike on Friday, but threatened to call a new, longer strike over what unions say is unfair profit-sharing. Information on the impact of the strike given by the unions and the company differed widely, with Petrobras saying oil output had been reduced by 10 percent at the most. Meanwhile, union leaders claimed "major success" for the strike, saying Petrobras ceased to produce around 30 percent of its daily oil and gas output on Thursday. These figures were also lower than 50 percent union estimates on Thursday.

Gerson Pires, a director of the Oil Workers Federation (FUP), said the union would likely set a deadline of May 8 for Petrobras to come up with a counterproposal on raising the share of profits paid to workers. If the company declined to negotiate, a new strike could be called on May 8.

The workers are protesting against the smaller share of profits they are getting from the state-owned company, which has been successively posting earnings in the past few years. Petrobras has said that the actual sum paid to workers from Petrobras profits rose over 30 percent last year from prior-year levels, but union leaders argue that the share of overall profits had fallen to 7 percent from 11 percent. "Unions will be meeting this week and next to discuss the situation. So far, Petrobras has made no advances in the negotiations and we don't rule out another strike," said FUP coordinator Mauricio Rubem.