Petrobras Makes Proposal to Workers to Avoid Strike

RIO DE JANEIRO Jul 03, 2007 (Dow Jones Newswires)

Brazil's state-run oil firm Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR), or Petrobras, Tuesday made a new proposal to unions aimed at avoiding a strike that could start Thursday, a company press official said.

A strike would affect oil production, as well as refining and distribution.

The directors of FUP told Petrobras Friday that about 80% of unionized oil workers across Brazil have voted to go on a strike that could threaten the production of 1.8 million barrels of oil a day. About 70% to 80% of oil workers are unionized, FUP said.

Petrobras presented the proposal to representatives of Brazil's main Oil Workers' Federation, or FUP, Tuesday morning. The company will present the proposal to five regional unions that don't belong to FUP Tuesday afternoon.

The company had no information about the content of the proposal. Union directors will decide Wednesday whether to accept Petrobras' proposal or go ahead with a five-day strike that could begin any day starting with Thursday.

Petrobras workers want to pressure the company to present a proposal for a new plan on how positions and salaries within the company are distributed.

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

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

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