Oil-worker strike hits Brazilian refineries

Oil refinery Petrobas Brazil

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Brazil's oil-worker union (FUP) called for a strike on Sunday, covering all of Petrobras's operations, including its refineries.

FUP called the strike to protest the company's business plan for 2015-2019, which cut spending by 37% to $130.3bn as compared with the previous 2014-2018 plan.

For downstream and distribution operations, Petrobras plans to spend $12.8bn, versus $38.7bn in its previous plan.

If Petrobras continues making cuts, it could threaten the creation of 20m jobs by 2019, FUP said.

Already, 15,000 metal workers in the nation's shipbuilding industry have lost their jobs during the first half of the year, the union said. The cuts threaten 30,000 jobs in Brazil's petrochemical sector. Thousands of outsourced workers have either lost their jobs or face the prospects of becoming unemployed.

The union named eight refineries that are participating in the strike. Workers in the states of Minas Gerais and Parana were to join the strike on Monday.

In addition to fuel, refineries also produce feedstock for petrochemicals. It is unclear if or how the strike will affect raw materials in Brazil.

The country's largest petrochemical producer, Braskem, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Petrobras said contingency teams were operating in some of its plants, without specifying which ones. Other plants are being blocked.

The company is taking all measures to maintain production and guarantee supplies to the market, Petrobras said.

Source:ICIS News