A threatened strike by Venezuela's largest oil workers' union can probably be averted, Deputy Oil Minister Bernardo Alvarez said yesterday. Union leaders will meet later this week with management at PDVSA to work on a new contract. “I think there's willingness to reach some kind of an agreement,” Alvarez told reporters. Fedepetrol, as the 40,000-member union is known, threatened last Friday to call a strike if collective bargaining talks are not successful. It said the government has not honored past agreements affecting higher wages and benefits.
In April, work stoppages by PDVSA management curbed production and exports. Managers were protesting changes to the company board by President Hugo Chavez. PDVSA has a strike contingency plan designed to guarantee productions and exports for ten days. Venezuela exports 2.1 million barrels of crude per day.