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Brazil oil workers join pension reform protests with strike action

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Brazil oil workers join pension reform protests with strike action
FILE PHOTO: Brazil's state-run Petrobras oil company headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes   -   Copyright  Sergio Moraes(Reuters)
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SAOPAULO (Reuters) – Oil workers at state-run Petroleo Brasileiro SA have begun a strike in eight Brazilian states as part of nationwide protests against a government pension reform proposal, umbrella union group FUP said on Friday.

Brazil’s pension reform bill is aimed at restoring public finances and reviving a flagging economy, but is fiercely opposed by some sectors of society for raising the minimum retirement age and workers’ contributions.

Workers at nine refineries including Reduc in Rio de Janeiro state and Paulínia in São Paulo state were participating in the strike, which also affected a Petrobras port terminal in Pernambuco, and a fertilizer plant in Bahia, FUP said.

On the Campos basin in Rio de Janeiro, workers were keeping operations to a minimum, it added.

In Brazil’s largest city São Paulo, public transport was disrupted as subway workers adhered to the strike, affecting train schedules and closing some stations, local media reported.

Road blocks and demonstrations in streets and highways in and around São Paulo, including burning tyres close to the city’s international airport, have also been reported.

As well as seeking to block changes in public sector pensions, FUP said, the oil workers were protesting against “the privatisation of the Petrobras system”.

(Reporting by Marta Nogueira in Rio de Janeiro and Ana Mano in São Paulo: Writing by Ana Mano; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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