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Thousands strike at Venezuela's Sidor steel
CARACAS (Reuters) - Thousands of workers at Venezuela's largest steelmaker, Argentine-controlled Ternium Sidor, went on strike on Wednesday night in a dispute over the labor contract.
Secretary General Nerio Fuentes told Reuters up to 13,000 union workers and contractors would initially strike for 48 hours.
"We've now had almost 12 months of talks about the labor contract and it's now impossible, there is no other route," said Fuentes said of the decision to strike.
Fuentes earlier said the union, which pulled workers off the job for 24 hours last week in the same conflict, could strike indefinitely if management failed to meet demands.
Earlier this month the government began mediation to end the contract talks, which have dragged on for months.
Venezuela's socialist president, Hugo Chavez, threatened last year to nationalize the company, which is controlled by Argentina's Ternium (TX.N), one of Latin America's largest steelmakers.
Ternium has a 60 percent stake in Sidor, with workers, pensioners and the state holding the remaining portion.
Fuentes said Ternium Sidor produces 4.8 million tons of liquid steel annually.
(Reporting by Fabian Andres Cambero; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Michael Urquhart)
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