Petrobras Union Says Salary Freeze Unacceptable, Mulls Strike

  • FUP oil union meeting Monday to discuss response to Petrobras
  • Company has said it’s looking to preserve jobs amid crisis

Brazil’s main oil workers union is meeting Monday and doesn’t rule out a strike as it battles with state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA for more compensation, union leader Jose Maria Rangel said in an interview.

Petrobras’s offer last week to leave base salaries unchanged and reduce overtime payments is unacceptable, Rangel said by telephone from Rio de Janeiro, where Petrobras is based. The company isn’t reducing salaries or removing any salary benefits, and its proposal is meant to preserve jobs at a difficult moment for the economy, Petrobras said in an e-mailed response.

The wage standoff is occurring at a time the oil industry is shedding jobs in response to crude prices that have fallen to about a third of 2011 levels. About 12,000 Petrobras employees signed up for its most-recent buyout program, and shipyards and oil services suppliers have been slashing jobs in recent years as orders from the Rio de Janeiro-based producer have slowed.

Petrobras domestic oil production fell by about 30,000 barrels a day last November when oil workers went on strike to demand better wages, according to information on its website.

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