November 17, 2015 / 10:17 PM / 4 years ago

Brazil oilworkers local tells members to quit Petrobras platforms

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The Brazilian oilworkers union local responsible for the bulk of the country’s oil and gas output told its members on Tuesday to leave all Petroleo Brasileiro SA vessels in the Campos Basin, Brazil’s most productive oil district.

The action by the local, Sindipetro Norte Fluminense, defied its national federation FUP, which on Friday recommended members accept a contract offer from state-run Petrobras, as the company is known, and end a two week strike.

The members want Petrobras to pay them for all their days on strike, rather than the half offered by company negotiators, and to expand the scope of a union-management committee being established to review Petrobras budget cuts and planned asset sales.

Petrobras on Tuesday agreed to talk about compensation for days on strike, FUP said in a statement.

“We want to see if Petrobras can maintain production without our people,” said Tezeu Bezerra, a SindipetroNF leader.

SindipetroNF members on 51 offshore units, including production platforms, drillships and support vessels, voted on Saturday against accepting the offer, the union said. Many have been on board their vessels since the strike started, the union said.

The Campos Basin is responsible for 64 percent of Brazil’s oil output and 34 percent of natural gas output, the vast majority of it from Petrobras offshore platforms.

Petrobras last week offered workers a 9.53 percent wage hike and promises that the union-management committee will present a report on possible increases in investment to the government and board of directors within 60 days.

Petrobras has slashed nearly $100 billion from planned five-year investments to trim nearly $130 billion of debt, the largest in the oil industry.

On Tuesday Petrobras said its Brazil oil production is being cut by about 100,000 barrels a day, or about 4.8 percent of pre-strike output. Earlier in the strike, which is the most disruptive at Petrobras in 20 years, output was cut by about 13 percent, according to Petrobras.

Petrobras is under-reporting production cuts, which have been as high as 400,000 barrels a day, or 19 percent of pre-strike output, the union has said.

Petrobras is maintaining output with management-led contingency teams and strike breakers.

Reporting by Marta Nogueira; Additional reporting and writing by Jeb Blount; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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