Venezuelan oil industry workers stage strike

Thousands of Venezuela�s state oil industry workers walked off their jobs Wednesday, demanding a reopening of collective labor contract negotiations for higher wages and other fringe benefits. State oil corporation Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) immediately put a contingency plan into place, labeled the move 'an illegal strike,' and called on striking workers to return to their jobs.


CARACAS�Thousands of Venezuela�s state oil industry workers walked off their jobs Wednesday, demanding a reopening of collective labor contract negotiations for higher wages and other fringe benefits.

State oil corporation Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) immediately put a contingency plan into place, labeled the move "an illegal strike," and called on striking workers to return to their jobs.

The industry�s largest labor union, Fedepetrol, claimed that its call for an indefinite work stoppage was "a success" because approximately 90% had heeded the strike call. However, PDVSA sources said that far fewer workers had joined the strike.

PDVSA said that, as a result of its contingency plan, the company was meeting its commitments at home and abroad in a normal fashion and that there were no disruptions in exports.

"PDVSA urges its workers who today joined the call for the indefinite illegal work stoppage to return to their normal duties," said a company communiqu

"The activation of contingency plans and the automation of operations minimized the impact" of the strike, the company said.

PDVSA also said that it remained open to dialogue and negotiations with labor leaders. "PDVSA negotiators at no time had suspended dialogue," the company added.

Industry sources said they expected a meeting would be called between management and labor leaders late Wednesday to end the strike and reopen contract negotiations.

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