[QODLink]
Americas
Brazil oil workers strike over pay
Tens of thousands at state oil firm Petrobras also protest over safety conditions.
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2009 02:24 GMT
At least 50,000 of Petrobras' 74,000 production workers halted work on Monday [EPA]

Tens of thousands of Brazilian oil workers have begun a five-day strike to protest against pay cuts and working conditions.

At least 50,000 of 74,000 production workers at Petrobras, the state-run oil firm, halted work at refineries, oil wells and platforms on Monday, said the National Oil Workers Federation.

However, Petrobras' press office said overall production across the country was normal after contingency plans were set in motion when the strike began.

Ferreira Dantas, a spokesman for the workers federation, said employees halted production at the Reman refinery in the Amazon jungle city of Manaus.

The strike also stopped the production of at least 70 per cent of the oil and gas from the more than 20 offshore rigs and onshore wells in the northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte, Dantas said.

Union officials say 165 employees have been killed in the last seven years in accidents.

Petrobras' net income rose 58 per cent to 33.9bn reals ($14.2bn) last year amid an output increase of 4.3 per cent as global oil prices soared to more than $147 a barrel in July before falling to $54 on Monday.

Al Jazeera's Lucia Newman said the firm's ambitious plans for expansion were being hit by the global economic downturn just as workers were demanding a bigger share of profits.

The firm is third largest oil producer in the Americas and one of the 20 largest in the world.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.