March 6, 2019 / 12:17 PM / 9 months ago

Strike cuts output at biggest Galp refinery: union

FILE PHOTO: The logo of GALP is seen next to a petrol station of GALP company near Lisbon, Portugal July 30, 2018. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

LISBON (Reuters) - Workers at the largest oil refinery operated by Portugal’s Galp Energia started a month-long strike on March 1, cutting output at the Sines facility by 25-30 percent, union leaders said.

Galp said in a statement it would not comment on the impact of the strike, adding it did not recognize the union’s calculations. During similar strikes in the past, it has said production has not been significantly affected.

Striking workers said the oil and gas company had failed to resume a collective bargaining agreement, or to negotiate better salaries, health and social benefits.

“Production at the main units in Sines is at 60 percent (of capacity),” said Miguel Bravo, from the Fiequimetal union. “We estimate that the impact on (production) is at a 25 to 30 percent reduction, which corresponds to 15-20 million euros (so far during this strike).”

Sines, in southern Portugal, produces 220,000 barrels per day. Workers at Galp’s second Portuguese refinery, in Matosinhos, which has around half the capacity, are due to strike from March 15, the union said.

In a statement sent to Reuters, Bravo said the strike is also having an impact on exports. Speaking to Portugal’s Lusa news agency, the union said Galp registered a loss of 36 million euros ($40.7 million) in exports due to strike action that unfolded during the first three months of 2019.

Asked about any impact on exports, Galp said: “above all, the group’s exports have reflected current market conditions, namely the exceptionally low levels of ‘gasoline cracks’ in the international market.”

Shares in Galp were up 0.44 percent at 1057 GMT.

Reporting by Catarina Demony; Additional reporting by Goncalo Almeida; Editing by Jan Harvey and David Evans

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