Power workers' union declares "conflict" after negotiations stall

- Friday, August 28, 2009

Power workers' union declares

The president of Venezuelan power workers union Fetraelec, Ángel Navas, has declared a conflict with the country's energy and oil ministry (Menpet) and state power company Corpoelec because of stalled collective bargaining negotiations, the union said in a statement.

Navas was quoted in local press asking Venezuelans for support in what would be "conflictive" actions currently being planned by the union.

"Our patience has run out," Navas said in the statement, adding that Menpet and Corpoelec had broken off discussions a month ago.

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Fetraelec is currently planning a massive march set for September 4.

The union, meanwhile, attributed the negotiation problems to excessive bureaucracy at Corpoelec.

Only 25% of workers' demands have been met, according to local press.

Venezuela nationalized its power industry in 2007, when the country's oil and energy ministry, newly formed Corpoelec and state oil company PDVSA took control of flagship company EDC.

The country has faced several widespread blackouts in recent years, which analysts attribute to declining investment.

Venezuelan authorities have promised multi-billion dollar investments to improve the country's transmission network and grid capacity.

PDVSA, meanwhile, is also facing labor issues as it continues to negotiate with the country's oil unions.