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Bloomberg: Argentine Oil Refinery Workers Begin Strike Over Pay (Update1)

By Eliana Raszewski

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) — Argentine oil refinery workers began a strike demanding that companies, including Royal Dutch Shell Plc. and Repsol YPF SA, help cover income taxes on overtime pay, union leader Alberto Roberti said.

The 18,000 refinery workers throughout the country are seeking the same benefits that companies granted last week to employees at oil and gas production plants, said Roberti, head of the Federation of Oil and Gas Workers. Roberti said the strike may cause shortages as soon as today.

After a five-day strike, workers at the production plants got a bonus of between 100 pesos ($32) and 600 pesos a month to compensate for the taxes on overtime pay. The strike caused the disruptions of gas natural shipments to Chile as the government tried to ensure domestic demand.

“We have the right to receive the same benefits that those workers got,” said Roberti. “We expect the companies’ executives to be reasonable.” Roberto said the union will hold a meeting with the companies this afternoon.

The government last week also agreed with oil workers from four provinces, including Neuquen and Rio Negro, to lower some of their income taxes.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires [email protected]

Last Updated: November 21, 2006 09:59 EST

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