Brazil's Environment Agency Workers Strike Across 14 States

Staff at Brazil's environment agency, Ibama, voted to strike in at least 14 states due to pay and work condition disputes. The strike, starting on June 24, will delay oil and gas licenses and affect efforts to preserve the Amazon rainforest, impacting companies like Petrobras and Equinor.

Reuters | Updated: 15-06-2024 03:30 IST | Created: 15-06-2024 03:30 IST
Brazil's Environment Agency Workers Strike Across 14 States
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Staff at Brazil's environment agency voted to strike in at least 14 states, their union said on Friday, threatening delays to oil and gas licenses, auto imports and efforts to preserve the Amazon rainforest. Workers in the Rio de Janeiro offices of the Ibama agency, which handles petroleum licenses, agreed late on Thursday to join a strike on June 24 due to a dispute over pay, career structure and work conditions, according to a statement from the national union Ascema.

A union leader said Rio was one of 14 states where staff had voted to strike. Some of the strikers will begin the action on July 1 at the agency, which has about 3,800 employees in total. The strike is expected to affect environmental licensing for more than a dozen firms in the oil and gas sector, including Brazil's state-run Petrobras and independent producers such as Equinor, 3R Petroleum, Enauta and Prio.

"The lack of dialogue on the part of the government led us to this strike, which unfortunately will deepen the already significant impacts in several sectors, especially in oil and gas," said the director of the Rio union Asibama-RJ, Leandro Valentim, in a statement. Ibama is working to ensure a positive outcome and guarantee the continuity of its activities, the agency said in a statement, adding it is consulting other parts of the federal government about the workers' demands.

Brazil's Management Ministry did not reply to a request for comment on the latest proposal by the government to the workers. Since early 2024, the agency's staff have slow-walked environmental licensing and other services of interest to the government without officially calling for a strike.

The slowdown has had effects across Brazil's economy from energy projects to vehicle imports. Petrobras did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the vote to declare a strike.

Along with the Ibama workers in at least 14 states, workers in the Federal District and the environment ministry have also declared their plans to strike, national union leader Wallace Lopes told Reuters. Voting nationwide is set to conclude on Friday, he said, meaning workers in more areas could join the strike.

The strike could also hurt Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's fight against the illegal destruction of the Amazon rainforest if the Ibama staff tasked with policing deforestation walk off the job.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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