MONTEVIDEO – Workers at MontevideoGas, three of whom have been on hunger strike for the past six days to protest the gas distributor’s cost-cutting measures, are awaiting news from the Labor and Social Security Ministry (MTSS) about a possible mediated solution to the labor dispute.
The general secretary of the gas workers’ union, Pablo Sequeira, told EFE that a 48-hour period for the MTSS to notify employees about the results of the mediation effort expires on Wednesday.
The workers are awaiting a response to several of the alternatives that were being discussed, Sequeira said.
The MTSS and the Industry, Energy and Mining Ministry intervened on this occasion, he noted, adding that the union had had no contact since the previous negotiations with the national gas distributor – a unit of Brazilian state oil company Petrobras – broke down last Thursday.
The dispute centers on the company’s move to temporarily suspend the contracts of 55 workers and freeze salaries as part of belt-tightening efforts, according to Uruguayan media. Radio Monte Carlo cited the president of the gas workers’ union, Martin Guerra, as saying MontevideoGas’ actions were in clear violation of the contract terms.
Regarding the health of the three workers on hunger strike outside the company’s headquarters, Sequeira said they were consuming a liquid diet and being constantly monitored by medical personnel.