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Argentina government orders oil sector talks after worker strike -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Oil pump jacks can be seen in the Vaca Muerta shale gas and oil deposit, Patagonian, Neuquen (Argentina), January 21st 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Martarian

By Eliana Raszewski

BUENOS AIRES, Reuters – The Argentina government placed a temporary halt to a strike by workers over higher wages. This was in response to a demand for increased wages in the massive Vaca Muerta shale field.

Private Oil and Gas Union (the largest union representing oil workers in Argentina) went on strike Monday morning to protest the low wages and spiralling inflation. The union represents 24,000 workers in the provinces of Río Negro, Neuquén and La Pampa.

Following the order, which was issued by the labor ministry for a 15-day period of conciliation, both parties were asked to reach an agreement. On Thursday, it called for the parties to meet.

Reuters was told by a union source that workers will abide to the order of the government, but they will only resume normal work Monday night because of logistical issues.

Strike had impacted activity at oil companies operating in the Vaca Muerta shale-formation, which has the world’s fourth-largest unconventional crude oil reserve as well as the second-largest reserve shale-gas in Argentina’s Patagonian.

Marcelo Rucci was the general secretary for the union and stated during a gathering with workers that “inflation always eats away at our salaries.” “We are now going to demand what we want.”

We must show strength to fix this. From now, we’re going strike.”

According to Reuters, a source who was not identified from an oil company said that the labor ministry had been asked by oil companies to call for a compulsory conciliation in order to stop the conflict spreading.

Another industry source stated that they are working to maintain the plants, but that drilling has been stopped.

Since long, unions in Argentina seek to restore the buying power of their members. This has been made difficult by high inflation that currently exceeds 50% annually.

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