PDVSA Threatened With Further Strike

About 1,300 workers at PDVSA's petrochemical subsidiaries have threatened to stop work if management doesn't agree to contract demands, local daily El Nacional reported Thursday.

A work stoppage could reportedly affect production of chemicals used in the country's Paraguana refinery complex, which includes the 350,000-barrels-a-day Cardon refinery and the 600,000 b/d Amuay refinery.

If the strike takes place, it would add to other public sector work stoppages that include about 150,000 employees at 12 government departments, who are protesting the nonpayment of salary increases ranging from 10% to 12%, according to the report.

Labor strife is growing in Venezuela, as the government struggles to pay salaries while battling financing needs this year equal to about 9% of the country's $110 billion gross domestic product. The instability is fueling opposition efforts to permanently oust President Hugo Chavez who was deposed in April, only to be returned to office two days later.

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