October 24, 2011 / 8:26 PM / 8 years ago

Brazil oil union eyes strike in Nov, talks continue

* Union says could strike on Nov. 16 over pay, conditions     * Depends on talks with State oil company Petrobras     RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Brazil’s principal oil union said it could call a strike on Nov. 16 if it does not reach a collective bargaining agreement with state oil company Petrobras (PETR4.SA), a union leader said on Monday.     A strike by the FUP, an umbrella union for workers in the oil sector, could support global crude oil prices if output falls enough that Petrobras has to boost imports.     The threat follows strikes in recent weeks by thousands of Brazilian workers including bank and postal employees seeking a greater share of economic growth, spurring worries that salary increases could fuel inflation that is already running at an annual pace above 7 percent.     The FUP is seeking a raise of 10 percent above inflation along with better working conditions, and a better health plan, said FUP coordinator Joao Antonio de Moraes in a telephone interview.     “We will give Petrobras until November 10 to improve its proposal. If the salary proposal is not good enough we will begin a strike as of the 16th,” said Moraes.     The union represents some 40,000 workers, said Moraes, compared to a Petrobras payroll of around 70,000 workers. Most but not all of the FUP members work for Petrobras, he said.     The FUP in 2008 called off a planned national strike after Petrobras made an offer to raise profit-sharing terms for workers. The company has been keen to avoid work stoppages in recent years.     Oil industry leaders have said that a lack of qualified labor in Brazil has been one of the primary challenges facing the industry.     The South American nation hopes to become a major oil exporter over the next ten years by developing offshore fields in the deepwater region known as the subsalt, an area believed to hold more than 50 billion barrels of oil.     (Reporting by Brian Ellsworth;editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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