Gabon oil workers' union says begins unlimited strike

LIBREVILLE Sat Mar 9, 2013 5:47pm EST

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LIBREVILLE (Reuters) - Gabon's powerful ONEP oil workers' union said on Saturday it had begun an unlimited strike to demand the application of a 2010 agreement signed by the government on working conditions.

"We have started an unlimited strike from Saturday," Hans Landry Ivala, ONEP spokesman, said by telephone from the oil hub of Port-Gentil. "We have called on all our members to observe the strike."

ONEP is demanding the application of a November 2010 agreement between the government and oil workers, guaranteeing better labor terms and greater use of Gabonese staff.

Ivala said the strike was being followed at 90 percent of companies operating in Gabon and it had slowed down their operations. It was not immediately possible to verify this.

A government official in the oil sector had no immediate comment.

The central African nation of around 1.5 million people produces roughly 240,000 barrels per day of crude oil from a sector dominated by France's Total (TOTF.PA) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L).

The oil revenues contribute around 60 percent of the state budget in Gabon, one of the few sub-Saharan African countries to have a dollar-denominated bond.

(Reporting by Jean Rovys Dabany; Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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