Petrobras Workers Start Slowdown at Refineries, Platforms

Petroleo Brasileiro SA employees and other oil workers in Brazil are implementing a slowdown today at refineries, platforms and plants to push for salary increases, a union leader said.

Union members will also meet Oct. 21 to discuss a possible strike and review wage proposals from Rio de Janeiro-based Petrobras, as Brazil’s state-run oil company is known, said Joao Antonio de Moraes, head of the union known as FUP. Petrobras said the slowdown won’t affect output.

“It won’t directly affect production, it means working more slowly,” Moraes said today in a telephone interview.

FUP is demanding a 10 percent wage raise over inflation and better work and security conditions, the union said Oct. 4. Petrobras said in an e-mailed statement today it granted a 9.4 percent pay rise in 2010 and is holding “open and permanent” discussions with union leaders to reach an agreement.

The company is likely to meet with unions between Oct. 24 and Oct. 28, according to the statement. Petrobras produces about 90 percent of Brazil’s oil.

Petrobras fell 0.6 percent to 19.34 reais as of 3:20 p.m. in Sao Paulo and declined 29 percent this year through yesterday, compared with the 21 percent slump in Brazil’s benchmark Bovespa stock index.

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