Pemex kicks off union talks

Carlos Deschamps: Discussion with union leaders on wages and benefits under way

Mexico's Pemex and the country's oil union have kicked off deliberations of a joint committee that will set the state player's salary and benefits standards for 2014-2015.

This year's decisions will be made against the backdrop of energy reform in Mexico, which changed the constitution late last year to allow private competition in the oil industry for the first time in 75 years.

Implementing laws for the reforms are still in progress, but the negotiations may be a key test for union power, which has been on the ebb since four union seats on the Pemex board were slashed during the reforms in a concession from the centre-left Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

The new salary and benefits tables will go into effect on 1 August for Pemex, which has well over 100,000 employees.

"The commission that has been installed today has the great responsibility of reaching agreements to improve, as much as it can, the economic condition of workers and at the same time guarantee conditions that will allow Pemex to advance in the manner of productivity, competitiveness and financial strength," chief executive Emilio Lozoya Austin said in a statement.

Carlos Romero Deschamps, secretary-general of the Oilworkers Union of the Republic of Mexico (STPRM), said Pemex must "agree to undertake greater efforts and dedication to all workers."

"We are ready to confront that challenges that face us, alongside the company, as we share a common destiny," Deschamps said.

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