UPDATE 1-Petrobras says more than a fifth of employees agree to buyout
(Adds comment from a Petrobras union)
By Jeb Blount
RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Brazil's Petrobras said on Friday that more than one in five of its direct employees agreed to leave the financially troubled state-led oil company in a buyout program that is expected to save 33 billion reais ($10.2 billion) by 2020.
Under the plan, 11,704 employees, or 21 percent of Petrobras' 54,951 direct workforce as of July, signed up to quit their jobs or retire early, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as Petrobras is formally known, said in a statement.
The total number of employees signed up since April is 97 percent of a job reduction plan that budgeted 4.4 billion reais for the voluntary dismissal of up to 12,000 employees, or an average of 367,000 reais ($113,168) per employee.
Petrobras faces rising payments on its nearly $125 billion of debt, the largest in the global oil industry, as well as massive new costs to develop giant offshore oil prospects off the coast of Brazil south of Rio de Janeiro.
It has also been battered by a sprawling corruption scandal and a plunge in world oil prices.
FUP, one of the largest unions representing Petrobras employees, said the job cuts put the remaining employees and Brazil's environment at risk. The risk is especially high in light of 8,000 layoffs in the last three years have cut the company workforce by a quarter and left key positions unfilled, the union said in a statement.
"The result of this disastrous management model will be more accidents, putting society on the verge of a great but expected tragedy," the statement said. Continuación...