12 de noviembre de 2015 / 1:36 / en 2 años

Brazil's Petrobras offers wage hike to strikers; union wary

RIO DE JANEIRO, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Brazil’s state-led oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA offered striking workers a 9.54 percent wage hike on Wednesday in an effort to end a 10-day strike and prevent it from causing further production losses.

But union officials said the deal makes almost no concessions on their most important demands. These include calls on Petrobras, as the company is known, to reverse investment cuts and block planned assets sales designed to reduce Petrobras’ debt.

At more than $130 billion, the company’s debt is the largest in the oil industry.

The strike, which has cut output from oil fields and refineries, is the biggest at Petrobras in 20 years.

Segen Estefen, a member of the Petrobras board of directors, said early on Tuesday that the stoppage was “bleeding” the company and could hurt employees by reducing its ability to invest. Union officials had initially asked for an 18 percent raise.

“We are considering the offer, but it doesn’t make any concrete concessions to our main demands,” Leopoldino Ferreira de Paula Martins, director of communications at the union known as FUP, said in a phone interview.

In a note published late on Wednesday, FUP said its deliberative council met earlier in the day to consider the offer and would meet again on Thursday starting at 2 p.m. (1600 GMT) in Rio de Janeiro. The note also called on members to continue their strike.

Estefen said he expected the strike to be resolved by the end of the week. In the past Petrobras has said it would have difficulty maintaining field and refinery output if the strike lasted much more than 10 days. The strike will enter its 11th day on Thursday.

The work stoppage has caused Petrobras to lose about 115,000 barrels a day of oil output, or about 5.5 percent of pre-strike output. Petrobras managers and contingency employees workers have sought to curb production losses due to the strike.

But the union noted on Wednesday that such efforts could also cause collateral damage to Petrobras.

An oil spill of less than one cubic meter on the P-37 oil production platform in the Marlim offshore field led to the preventative shutdown of the entire unit and the loss of 30,000 barrels a day of output, FUP said.

It blamed inexperienced managers and tired crews for the spill and the need to shut the whole platform. (Reporting by Jeb Blount and Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Editing by Tom Brown)

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