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Workers end two-day strike at Batista’s Port in Brazil
Workers ended a two-day strike at the OSX Brasil SA shipyard at Brazil’s Port of Acu on Wednesday after securing an agreement with a contractor—a relief to billionaire Eike Batista after a string of troubles for his energy and logistics empire.The blockade led to a stoppage by nearly all of the 8,500 workers at the giant port complex, union officials said. The workers said contractor Acciona failed to pay wages and provided substandard conditions.
The port is owned by Batista-controlled LLX Logistica SA . Acciona is one of the main contractors building the OSX shipyard, also controlled by Batista.
“The strike is over, after tough negotiations we found common ground,” Acciona spokesman Leandro Costa said.
“Tomorrow should be a normal day.”
Nearly 150 companies are managing construction projects at Acu, a complex about 1.5 times the size of New York’s Manhattan Island. The shipyard is about the size of Manhattan’s Central Park.
The Civil Construction Union of North and Northeast Rio de Janeiro State had complained Acciona was behind on pay, had denied overtime wages, was violating rules on job categories and was denying leave to workers. Some of the workers had been unable to visit their families for as much as eight months, said union president Jose Carlos da Silva Eualalio.
The strike comes on the heels of other problems for Batista. On Wednesday Standard & Poor’s Rating Services lowered its credit rating for OGX Petroleo E Gas Participacoes to B- from B, citing lower-than-expected output.
His Grupo EBX, a Rio de Janeiro-based oil, electricity, mining, shipbuilding, port and real estate group, has lost more than 70 percent in market value in the past year.
The losses cut about $20 billion off the value of Batista’s fortune and lost him the title of Brazil’s richest man. The share declines came after oil wells failed to produce as much as expected and mining, port and electricity projects slipped behind schedule.
The companies’ debts also mounted, raising concern that Batista would run out of capital before projects became operational. (Reuters)
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