UPDATE 1-Argentine workers threaten refinery blockade-reports

* Strike, blockage could happen next week

* Labor Ministry mediating contract talks
(Updates with industry chamber comment, background)

BUENOS AIRES, April 28 (BestGrowthStock) – Energy industry workers in Argentina
are threatening to blockade refineries to press pay demands, raising the
specter of fuel shortages in the South American country, local newspapers
reported on Wednesday.

Members of the Federation of Oil, Gas and Biofuels workers vowed to
block refineries and fuel depots as part of the protest, which could start
sometime next week, according to the reports carried by regional
newspapers.

Workers are seeking a pay rise of 32 percent while companies initially
offered a hike of 18 percent, Enrique Pourteau, executive director of
Argentina’s Oil Industry Chamber, told Reuters.

The Labor Ministry is mediating the negotiations and could extend a
Friday deadline, Pourteau said.

“We are still conversing and analyzing (proposals),” he said.

Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ), Repsol YPF (REP.MC: ), Petrobras (PETR4.SA: )
and Esso are the biggest operators of refineries in Argentina. Capacity at
the country’s largest refineries totals around 500,000 barrels per day.

The union federation represents workers at all the refineries, with the
exception of those run by YPF, Pourteau said.

No one was immediately available for comment at the union federation.

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(Reporting by Hilary Burke and Helen Popper; Editing by John Picinich)

UPDATE 1-Argentine workers threaten refinery blockade-reports