Argentine oil workers launch strike after accidents, affects Vaca Muerta
MEXICO CITY, May 21 (Reuters) - The largest oil union in Argentina began an indefinite strike on Sunday to demand labor improvements after a series of accidents that injured workers.
The Private Oil and Gas Union of Rio Negro, Neuquen and La Pampa is the largest in the country, representing some 25,000 workers. It speaks for workers operating in Argentina's Vaca Muerta shale formation, the world's second-largest unconventional gas reserve and fourth-largest oil reserve.
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"Tired of the tragic accidents that cost lives or leave workers maimed and in the absence of responses from the companies and the national government to put an end to this situation, we decided to start executing a defined plan to fight back last Thursday," the union said in a statement.
They noted previous discussions with business leaders had been fruitless, calling them "meaningless" and used as a tool for companies to delay taking action.
Argentina's state oil company YPF (YPFD.BA), one of the companies that will be most affected as the lead operator in the Vaca Muerta, did not respond to an immediate request for comment.
"Business owners contempt for people's life and integrity is alarming," the statement added. "The miserable indifference of those who have decision-making power costs or destroys the lives of workers and that is unacceptable."
This latest strike was triggered after an accident last week, which led to a worker amputating his arm, according to local media reports.
Vaca Muerta's oil output rose to 300,400 barrels per day in March, up 36% from a year earlier, while natural gas output that month rose by 14% from a year earlier.
The formation produces 47% of the country's total oil output and 41% of gas. (Reporting by Jorge Otaola in Argentina and Sarah Kinosian in Mexico; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)