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Algerian Oil Workers Demand Pay Raise

Source: Reuters 3/9/2011, Location: Africa

The chief executive of Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach flew to oil and gas fields in the Sahara desert after workers there demanded a pay rise, Sonatrach employees told Reuters on Wednesday.

There was no impact on production, a source close to Sonatrach said, and company chief executive Nourredine Cherouati told workers he would address their demands.

Workers at the Hassi R'mel, Hamra, Rhourde Nouss and Gassi Touil fields had for several days been demanding better pay and warned they would take "other measures if management will not listen to us," a source at Hassi R'mel told Reuters.

Algeria is the world's fourth biggest gas exporter and pumps most of the fuel via pipelines to Italy and Spain. Some analysts have said there is a risk revolts in neighbouring Libya and Tunisia could spread to Algeria.

Sonatrach's press office was not immediately available for comment. But the source close to Sonatrach told Reuters: "There is no impact on output."

The source at Hassi R'mel, who was present at the meeting between Cherouati and workers, quoted the Sonatrach CEO as saying he would solve their grievances within three weeks.

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