Over 5,000 Oil Workers Have Been Fired from PDVSA

According to a report by Venpres news agency, the number of Venezuelan oil workers who have been fired from their jobs is over 5,000 and that number will continue to increase as the government steps up its attempts to break the eight-week-old strike. The total was 2,000 more than the previous estimate given on Sunday by President Hugo Chavez, who has vowed to break the general strike, which involves PDVSA rather than negotiate early elections in the bitterly divided country.

The official Venpres news agency quoted PDVSA chief Ali Rodriguez as saying the number of dismissals for dereliction of duties had reached 5,111 and would continue to rise. The company had 37,000 employees before the strike, which began December 2.