Union: Shell Gabon Oil Strike To Spread Through Indus -AFP
Dow Jones

LIBREVILLE (AFP)--An oil workers strike which has paralyzed production at a Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) subsidiary in Gabon is set to become an industry- wide dispute, union officials warned Friday.

Industrial action at Shell's Gamba terminal has halted 60,000 barrels a day of crude production since the strike began on March 20, with another 30,000 barrels exported by France's Total Gabon (EC.FR) and Perenco also on hold.

Now unions negotiating for staff at America's Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO), who account for a further 20,000 barrels per day, have issued a strike warning, calling for parent company employment contracts for intermediary staff, a union official said.

"We won't hesitate to use the only arms we have," a spokesman for the national petroleum workers union, Arnaud Engandji, told AFP.

The union's general secretary, Guy Roger Aurat, added that Shell must acknowledge workers' grievances, or the rest of the oil industry will be asked to come out also in support.

"Over the course of next week, we will launch advance notice of a sector-wide strike," said Aurat, whose body represents some 3,500 of the industry's 5,000 workers in the country.

Shell-Gabon workers - who number around 800 - have called for the heads of managing director Hans Bakker and his team, who they accuse of "harassment" in a dispute over hours and paid holidays.

"The problems at Shell-Gabon are the (same) problems facing everyone," added Aurat.

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  03-28-08 1915ET
  Copyright (c) 2008 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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