Brazilian Oil Workers Strike
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ Oil workers across the country went on strike for higher pay Wednesday, threatening to paralyze refining and production.
Strike leaders said 95 percent of Brazil’s 55,000 petroleum workers had joined the walkout, which began at midnight Tuesday.
″We have stopped shift changes at refineries, and they should be totally paralyzed by tomorrow,″ said Heitor Lermen of the national strike command.
Petrobras, the government oil monopoly, said it had no information on the extent of the strike.
Fronape, the tanker fleet of Petrobras, also joined the strike but a spokesman said exports would not immediately be effected by the stoppage, because only workers on the land had walked off the job.
Brazil exports refined petroleum products, including gasoline to the U.S. East Coast.
On Tuesday, the 19 oil workers’ unions rejected a last-ditch offer from Petrobras to avert a strike.
The unions are demanding a raise of 371 percent to offset inflation, plus job stability, reinstatement of 800 fired workers and the end of plans to ″privatize″ Petrobras. The company offered a pay increase of 80 percent, but that would not be enough to keep up with Brazil’s rapid inflation, Lermen said.
Prices last month rose 15 percent.