(Adds union outlook for coming days, Petrobras outlook)
By Jeb Blount
RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Leaders of Brazil’s main oilworkers’ union said on Thursday that a contract offer from Petrobras falls short of their demands and sought a meeting with the company’s chief executive officer to discuss their requests.
Meanwhile the 12-day strike will go on, said FUP, as Brazil’s largest oilworkers union federation is known, in a statement.
In recent days the strike has reduced output by about 115,000 barrels a day, or about 5.5 percent of daily output before the strike began Nov 1.
FUP’s national council will meet on Friday to debate any response to a letter sent late Tuesday to Aldemir Bendine, chief executive of Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known.
Petrobras offered the workers a 9.54 percent wage hike on Wednesday, about half of the 18 percent demand from the union. The union, though, has said that wages were not its principal demand.
If the union can arrange a meeting with Petrobras, they plan to seek guarantees that strikers will not be punished for walking off the job, that they will be paid for the days they striked and that workers at a unit in Brazil’s Paraná state have their contract brought in line with those at FUP.
The strike has become the biggest stoppage in two decades at Petrobras. It was launched by a union seeking to remove all non-government investors from the company and cut foreign participation in the oil industry.
FUP has asked for Petrobras to tear up a five-year investment plan that slashes spending and seeks to sell assets in an effort to cut about $130 billion of debt, the largest of any oil company in the world. On Thursday Petrobras reported a $1 billion third-quarter loss.
Petrobras has offered to set up a joint union-management committee to discuss these demands after the union returns to work.
Petrobras is cutting back investment in the face of falling oil prices, a weak Brazilian currency and as it tries to regain investor confidence after a giant price-fixing, bribery and political kick-back scandal which caused costs to soar and led to billions in corruption-related losses.
Production cuts reached as high as 273,000 barrels a day at the beginning of the walkout, according to Petrobras. The union says those estimates are low and that losses were as high as 400,000 barrels a day or 19 percent of pre-strike output. (Reporting by Jeb Blount, additional reporting by Marta Nogueira; Editing by Lisa Shumaker, Diane Craft and Himani Sarkar)