By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – While Petrobras officials and union leaders negotiate a deal to end a two-week national strike, approximately ten oil workers remain on call at a São Paulo refinery, working overtime to keep machines in operation. According to news reports from Globo, approximately thirty workers, from the Presidente Bernardes Refinery in São Paulo state, were not substituted after their shift ended on October 28th, due to the start of the strike, and remained at the plant.

Oil workers protesting outside  Petrobras plant during two-week strike, Brazil.
Oil workers protesting outside São Paulo plant where ten Petrobras employees continue to work during two-week strike, photo by Rovena Rosa/Agencia Brasil.

Of these thirty, ten have remained on the grounds to maintain machines going. The company has given them mattresses and provided the workers with meals but according to Labor Ministry officials, who went to visit the workers earlier this week, said a quick strike solution to the problem must be found.

According to reports the Oil Workers Union – São Paulo chapter (Sindipetro-LP) these Petrobras employees are working up to sixteen hours per day, in shifts. They did not leave the plant in fear of an accident with the equipment. With them is a group of supervisors and coordinators who did not go on strike.

“They are waiting for the company to let them go. They are working in shifts and they are tired,” Marcelo Juvenal, director of Sindipetro-LP was quoted as saying. “The refinery is working at a forty-percent capacity to guarantee supply. There will be no shortage of gasoline and diesel.”

Oil worker unions which are part of the Oil Workers Federation (FUP) in Brazil began on November 1st, a strike at Petrobras refineries all over the country to protest against Petrobras’ asset sales, investment cuts, project suspensions, and reduction of some workers’ rights.

According to Petrobras, the company through its contingency plan has been able to reduce the negative impact of the strike. Its daily loss in oil production since Saturday, November 7th has been of around 115,000 barrels per day.

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