Oil Workers in 6 Brazilian States Approve Strike in July

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 27, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Oil workers in six states for state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR), or Petrobras, have voted to go on strike in July, Brazil's main Oil Workers' Federation said Wednesday.

Petrobras workers may go on a five-day strike beginning July 5 to pressure the company to present a proposal for a new plan on how positions and salaries within the company are distributed.

Between 70% and 80% of workers in the states of Rio Grande do Norte, Amazonas, Pernambuco, Paraiba, Rio Grande do Sul, as well as at the Duque de Caxias refinery site in Rio de Janeiro state, voted in favor of a strike, FUP press official Alessandra Murteira said.

The results of votes by workers in the key oil producing areas in Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo states, as well as refinery workers in Sao Paulo, will be known tomorrow, the union said

Preliminary results show that most workers at 36 oil rigs in the Campos Basin off Rio de Janeiro state also support the strike, Murteira said.

A strike would affect both oil production, refining and distribution.

Petrobras produces more than 95% of Brazil's oil output of about 1.85 million barrels a day. The company has a near monopoly in refining and is the biggest fuel distributor in the country.

Petrobras hopes to be able to avoid a strike, but is prepared for it, Chief Executive Sergio Gabrielli said on June 19.

The oil workers federation demands promotions to be based on merit only, and it claims workers in the company have been barred from promotions without proper reasons. Petrobras' current system of staffing and promotions is creating unjust salary discrepancies, FUP said.

Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.