UPDATE 4-Argentine oil refinery workers call off strike

* Union leader says deal reached in late night talks

* Workers had called nationwide strike hours earlier

* High inflation has prompted demands for pay increases

(Recasts with strike called off, deal struck)

By Nicolas Misculin

BUENOS AIRES, April 30 (BestGrowthStock) – Argentine oil refinery
workers called off a strike early on Saturday after clinching a
pay deal in last-ditch talks mediated by the government, a
union leader said.

The strike had raised the prospect of fuel shortages during
the soy and corn harvest in the South American country, one of
the world’s biggest grains suppliers.

“Because we’ve come to an agreement, we’re already in the
process of lifting the measure across the country,” Pedro
Milla, union secretary for the Federation of Oil, Gas and
Biofuels Workers, told Reuters.

The Labor Ministry had been mediating talks between the
workers and the Oil Industry Chamber, which groups leading
energy firms.

The refinery workers wanted a 32 percent pay rise, but
Milla said they had accepted a 25 percent increase and
additional benefits.

Strikes and strike threats are common at this time of year
in Latin America’s No. 3 economy as trade unions negotiate
salary increases, with high inflation stoking recent demands
for hikes of around 25 percent on average.

The biggest refinery operators in Argentina are YPF, the
local unit of Spain’s Repsol YPF, Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L: ),
Petrobras and Exxon Mobil Corp under the brand name Esso.

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(Additional reporting by Guido Nejamkis and Helen Popper)
([email protected]; +54 11 4318 0655; Reuters
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UPDATE 4-Argentine oil refinery workers call off strike