Petrobras workers begin indefinite strike throughout Brazil



Workers of the state-owned Petrobras, the largest oil company in Brazil, began an indefinite strike throughout the country on Saturday, for the closure of a fertilizer factory that will cause the dismissal of nearly 400 employees and for breaches in the collective labor agreement .

Despite the stoppage, the fuel supply will be guaranteed so as not to affect the population, according to the Single Federation of Tankers (FUP), which represents thirteen unions.

According to the FUP, unemployment is already active in ten states of Brazil and affects 12 refineries and 4 terminals in Amazonas (north), Bahía, Pernambuco and Ceará (northeast), Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo (southeast ) and Paraná, Santa Catarina and Río Grande do Sul (south).

Unemployment is also experienced in the shale factory that the oil company has in Paraná and in the fertilizer factory, also located in that region of the country, and that was one of the reasons that caused the stoppage.

In mid-January, Petrobras announced the definitive closure of the company Araucaria Nitrogenados (Ansa), a subsidiary of the state company with the capacity to produce 1,303 tons of ammonia per day and 1,975 tons of urea per day, among other fertilizers, after several failed attempts for its sale and "recurring losses" since it was acquired in 2013.

The factory entered into a "hibernation process" for six months to ensure operational and environmental safety, as well as the integrity of the equipment, "after which time it will permanently close and fire the 396 employees who work directly in the unit. , which would affect about 1,000 families.

In addition to protesting the dismissals, the unions accuse the state of breaching the collective bargaining agreement and ask to suspend "immediately" the "unilateral measures taken by the administration and that are affecting thousands of workers."

The state oil company called the strike "inappropriate," said the justifications are "unfounded" and announced measures to address the stoppage.

"Petrobras reaffirms that it understands that the announced movement is inappropriate and informs that it has taken the necessary measures to guarantee the continuity of the oil and gas production, the processing in its refineries, as well as the supply of the derivatives market and the security conditions of workers and facilities, "the company said in a note released this Saturday.

For the state-owned oil company, the justifications given by the workers for unemployment "do not comply with the legal requirements to exercise the right to strike," since according to the company, the agreed commitments have been fulfilled "comprehensively" by Petrobras in all The issues highlighted by the unions.

Petrobras, the largest company in Brazil and with shares traded on the stock exchanges in Sao Paulo, New York and Madrid, is in a process of restructuring following the poor financial results obtained from the multiple corruption cases investigated since 2014, in the known Operation Lava Jato.

After four consecutive years of losses, the state-owned oil company re-registered profits in 2018, a trend that continued in 2019, pending the disclosure of annual results.

The day before, the state oil company announced the sale of all of its participation in two wind power generation factories, with the capacity to produce 26 megawatts each, and that are part of a complex of four wind farms with a total installed capacity of 104 megawatts in the state of Rio Grande do Norte.

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