Argentine oil strike continues despite union deal

BUENOS AIRES, April 19 (Reuters) – Argentine energy workers
rejected a proposed deal to end a three-week-old strike that
has halted oil output in the Santa Cruz province, calling for
their union boss to quit, a dissident union leader said on

The workers rejected an agreement reached by the union
leadership and company officials on Monday, aimed at resuming
production in a province that accounts for nearly 20 percent of
Argentina’s total crude output.

Ruben Retamoso, a dissident official at the Santa Cruz
energy workers union, said rank-and-file members will not lift
the strike until union leader Hector Segovia resigns.

“Today (Tuesday) the workers’ assembly decided to continue
the measure until Segovia goes,” Retamoso told Reuters.

The protesting workers accuse Segovia of not properly
representing their demands after he negotiated nearly three
weeks ago a roughly 25 percent pay hike, in line with estimated
inflation. Many workers rejected the settlement.

The strike has blocked production in Santa Cruz at
operations run by Repsol’s YPF (REP.MC)(YPFD.BA), Occidental
Petroleum Corp (OXY.N) and Pan American Energy, which is
co-owned by Argentine and Chinese interests.

An industry source who followed the strike said last week
that YPF had suffered production losses of 11,000 cubic meters
of oil per day.

The source, who asked to remain anonymous, estimated
Occidental had lost output at 6,000 cubic meters of oil per day
and said Pan American stopped producing some 1,400 cubic meters
per day.

The parent company of China’s Sinopec Corp (0386.HK) agreed
in December to buy all of Oxy’s oil and natural gas assets in
Argentina for $2.45 billion, but the deal was subject to
government approval and it was not immediately clear if that
hurdle had been cleared.

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