September 24, 2018 / 12:27 PM / 7 months ago

Colombia's Ecopetrol, USO union sign new contract, avoiding more strikes

BOGOTA, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Colombia’s state-run oil company Ecopetrol has agreed on a new contract with its USO union through 2022, the company and union said early on Monday, avoiding the possibility of further strikes at its fields.

Under the agreement, workers salaries will increase by inflation plus 1.21 percent in 2018 and by inflation plus 1.7 percent each additional year.

The new contract, retroactively valid from July, will last 4.5 years through 2022, the two parties said in separate statements.

The Petroleum Industry Workers Union (USO) has 18,000 members across the Andean nation, whose top export is oil, and had said it was prepared to consider a national walkout if negotiations were not successful.

Changes to education, health and loan benefits for workers were included, Ecopetrol said, without providing details.

Ecopetrol has 9,000 direct employees nationally, while its contractors employ some 25,000 people.

Pacts were also agreed with the much smaller unions Adeco, Trasine, Utipec, Aproteco, Sindispetrol and Asintrahc. (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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