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ECONOMY | 23-01-2020 14:31

Oil companies and unions agreed on a temporary no layoffs clause

The unions representing oil workers and the sector's business chambers agreed to roll back 600 layoffs and 1,200 suspensions in the country's different basins while waiting for production to pick up and activity to resume.

The agreement was signed by Labour Minister Claudio Moroni at an extensive meeting in which the companies requested a crisis prevention procedure to reduce the burden of employer contributions for at least six months.

He celebrated the determination of the parties, which he described as "mature", and reaffirmed the need to build a mutual agreement in a context of “social dialogue”.

That consensus was instrumental to "the elaboration and presentation of a crisis plan to reverse all the dismissals" produced in the hydrocarbon industry, according to trade union sources.

Moroni took up the proposal and agreed to respond next week as he must consult with the Minister of Economy, Martín Guzmán, due to the fragile fiscal situation in which Argentina finds itself .

The secretary of the Private Oil and Gas Union of Neuquén, Río Negro and La Pampa, Guillermo Pereyra, affirmed this Thursday that "everyone must put something in" to avoid layoffs in the oil industry, a key sector for the foreign currency generation.

In statements to CNN Radio, the unionist stated that oil service companies notified Minister Moroni yesterday that they had 3,000 layoffs in the pipeline for next week, but this was halted by the agreement.

The oil industry debacle began in August 2019 when Mauricio Macri's administration issued Decree 566 freezing fuel and oil prices.

"Today there are 17 fewer drilling rigs.There are 3,000 jobs at stake. In December there were 600 dismissals and 1,200 suspensions. Fortunately all this could be stopped yesterday," precised Pereyra, who was part of the meeting.

Despite the decision, the government of Alberto Fernández will lead a permanent dialogue with unions and business chambers to measure the pulse of the activity and negotiate the bill for a new hydrocarbons law or a regime to promote the sector.

The governments of Río Negro and Neuquén, the main producing provinces, will participate in this dialogue.

NA/Diaro Petrolero

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