June 28, 2016 / 1:47 PM / 2 years ago

Oil, gas workers in 4 Argentine provinces continue wage strike

BUENOS AIRES, June 28 (Reuters) - Oil and natural gas workers in four Argentine provinces continued a wage strike on Tuesday, threatening more work stoppages ahead if negotiations with the government did not yield a deal on salaries and job security.

The strike, affecting operations of private firms and state oil company YPF, started on Monday and affected the Patagonian provinces of Chubut, Tierra del Fuego and Santa Cruz, as well as the west-central province of Mendoza, Oil and Gas Workers Union spokesman Carlos Gomez told Reuters by telephone.

“There is no oil or gas production in these areas,” he said.

“The strike is scheduled to end today at 8 pm (2300 GMT). If negotiations in Buenos Aires don’t result in an agreement, we have decided to hold another strike for 72 hours,” Gomez said.

Argentina produced an average 532,000 barrels of oil per day last year, almost all of which was used domestically.

Workers in the province of Neuquen, home to the vast yet mostly untapped Vaca Muerta shale formation, reached a wage deal and returned to work after striking on Monday.

Labor strikes are common in Argentina, a net energy importer where wage demands are driven by inflation - currently estimated by the government at 40 to 42 percent per year.

The government had offered a 30 percent wage increase. A spokesman for YPF, the country’s biggest producer, could not be reached for comment about the strike. (Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Hernan Nessi; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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