CORRECTED-(OFFICIAL)-Workers at Nestle Venezuela plant lift brief strike over wages

jueves 30 de octubre de 2014 11:39 GYT

(Corrects Dominguez's reference to union's wage increase demand in 5th paragraph to 75 percent from 65 percent)

CARACAS Oct 30 (Reuters) - Workers at a Nestle plant in Venezuela on Wednesday halted a strike over wages after agreeing to restart negotiations with the world's biggest food group.

The roughly 780 worker-strong union at the El Tocuyo factory in the western state of Lara on Tuesday shut the factory as sky-high inflation complicates operating conditions for businesses in the South American nation.

They decided to return to the negotiation table and restart the plant because "the best solution is to reach a deal," union leader Jesus Dominguez told Reuters on Thursday morning.

The OPEC country's annual inflation rate of 63.4 percent in August, the highest in the Western Hemisphere, is eating into Venezuelans' purchasing power and has become a hot-button issue at the negotiating table.

Dominguez had said Nestle offered a 50 percent salary increase, while workers demanded a 75 percent increase to keep up with price growth.

El Tocuyo, one of five plants Nestle has in Venezuela, produces cereals, culinary products, beverages and coffee.

Swiss-based Nestle confirmed the strike had been lifted.

"The trade union has agreed to resume full operations of our factory while they continue to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with Nestlé Venezuela, in presence of the local labour authorities," said Meike Schmidt, a Nestle spokeswoman in Vevey.   Continuación...