SAO PAULO – Brazilian oil workers defied a court order on Wednesday by launching a three-day strike affecting oil refineries.
The FUP, a federation that assembles most of Brazil’s oil workers’ unions, said in a statement that the top labor court’s decision to declare the strike illegal had not “intimidated” workers.
On Tuesday, a judge declared the strike illegal because it would be “abusive” and be “carried out to disturb” the population, threatening to impose a 500,000-real fine ($135,000) in case the strike broke out.
The oil workers strike was organized to support striking truckers, who have been calling on state oil company Petrobras to lower fuel prices, which have sharply increased due to a rise in international crude prices and to the slide in the value of the Brazilian real.
The strike, according to the FUP, was also organized to demand the resignation of Petrobras CEO Pedro Parente and to denounce a purported plan by the right-wing government to sell company assets to multinational corporations.
The oil workers’ unions said that the 72-hour work stoppage was a “warning” and that an open-ended strike could ensue if their demands were not met.
The FUP, however, said that the strike would not lead to a lack of fuel in the country, at a time when the truck driver’s strike, which is now in its 10th day, has caused a shortage of basic goods such as gasoline and some foodstuffs.
On Sunday, the Brazilian government and truckers’ unions reached an agreement to put an end to the strike, although hundreds of truck drivers have continued to block dozens of roads to demand that the government provide more guarantees that it will lower diesel prices.