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Strike lowers production at Portugal refineries – union

Workers at Portugal’s Galp Energia started a one-week strike on Monday, reducing production at the Sines and Matosinhos refineries, union leaders said.

Reduced refinery runs were expected during the strike that was called to demand that Galp resume a collective bargaining agreement and improve pay, they said. Product shipments from the Matosinhos were also interrupted, they added.

“Sines is working with a reduced load of about 60 percent of the normal throughput and we expect it to remain this way,” said Helder Guerreiro, a Fiequimetal union coordinator at the 220,000 barrel per day Sines refinery in southern Portugal.

Galp Energia declined to comment. During similar strikes in the past, it has said production was not significantly affected.

Galp shares were steady on the Lisbon exchange, while the broader market was 0.5 percent lower.

As is common practice in Portugal, the government has demanded the refineries continue operating with skeleton crews, so no shutdowns are planned.

At the 110,000 bpd Matosinhos plant near Porto the strike halted shipments of products by truck to petrol stations and there was no loading and unloading of ships at the sea terminal, said another union coordinator, Jose Santos.

The refineries can run on stocks of crude for several days.

The terminal was working normally in Sines and filling of trucks for petrol stations continued, although unions said those could be interrupted during some shifts during the dispute.

A second, longer strike is planned for Jan. 2-14 if no progress was made in talks, the Fiequimetal union said.
Source: Reuters (Reporting By Andrei Khalip Editing by Edmund Blair)

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