In Ivory Coast Petroci employees to vote on strike Wed after layoffs

Oil companies across the world have struggled over the past year as a glut in global supplies pulled oil prices down from over $110 a barrel in June 2014 to $30 a barrel this month.

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(Reuters)
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Employees at Ivory Coast's state oil company Petroci will vote on Wednesday on whether to strike after a wave of layoffs since the beginning of the year, the union said on Tuesday, as low oil prices squeeze company profits.

Fifty of the company's 600 employees were let go last week and another 150 employees are expected to follow, union leaders said, a move prompted by an audit recommending that the company cut costs and staff.

It was unclear how many workers the union represented or what effect a strike would have on production.

"We have called a general assembly of employees to vote for or against the unlimited strike because discussions with the company have stalled," said Ange Didier Koutouan, the delegate of personnel at Petroci.

He said that the first 50 workers were laid off last week for economic reasons "without any discussion with the union".

Oil companies across the world have struggled over the past year as a glut in global supplies pulled oil prices down from over $110 a barrel in June 2014 to $30 a barrel this month.

Aside from producing oil, Petroci controls 36 percent of the domestic gas distribution in Ivory Coast, including industrial gases to companies such as Unilever and Nestle.

The company owns about 30 petrol fueling stations in the country.

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