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Venezuela energy workers slow maintenance in protest for better wages


By Reuters

Petroleumworld 07 24 2018

Some Venezuelan power sector workers slowed maintenance work on Monday in protest for a salary hike to counter a destructive hyperinflationary spiral, but the labor action is expected to have a limited impact on the decimated sector.

Workers largely showed up for work for fear of being fired, but union leader Ali Briceno said they would not resolve any power faults or emergencies.

Venezuela's Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

The OPEC nation's energy sector is in freefall due to underinvestment, lack of maintenance, a shortage of spare parts, and a brain drain. The western oil-producing state of Zulia, for instance, has suffered near-daily power outages for months.

The protest highlights Venezuela's growing malaise in a fifth straight year of severe economic contraction under President Nicolas Maduro.

Power workers typically earn around 5.1 million bolivars a month, the equivalent on the black market of just $1.50 - roughly the price of a kilo of beef.

Carmen Rico, a 41-year-old Corpoelec employee in the Andean state of Tachira, said she walks to work at the state power corporation because she could no longer afford a bus fare.


Reporting by Mayela Armas in Caracas. Additional reporting by Anggy Polanco in San Cristobal, Tibisay Romero in Valencia, Isaac Urrutia in Maracaibo; Francisco Aguilar in Barinas Writing by Alexandra Ulmer; Editing by Richard Chang from Reuters
07 23 2018

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