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Brazil jobs pain over Petrobras scandal

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 01:59

Tens of thousands of Brazilian workers have taken the latest hit in the multi-billion dollar corruption scandal involving state oil company Petrobras. As Grace Pascoe reports there's been a wave of job losses since November follows intensifying probes into price-fixing, bribery and political kickbacks.

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Elias Brasil da Silva has just been laid off. His engineering job at Comperj, one of thousands cut in the wake of Brazil's biggest ever corruption scandal. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) FORMER COMPERJ EMPLOYEE, ELIAS BRASIL DA SILVA, SAYING: "For me this comes from what went on in Brasilia, where a lot of money was stolen. They wound up with no money so they started taking ours" A multi-billion dollar corruption scandal involving Petrobras, Brazil's largest company, has also implicated engineering firms and politicians. To add insult to injury oil prices fell to six-year lows. Industry professional, Antonio Gondim, says the scandal sparked a chain reaction. (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY IN MACAE, ANTONIO GONDIM, SAYING: "If the large companies on top are not employing, those which are below them and which offer services to Petrobras end up not making any profits and stop buying from the companies below them, which then affects the micro-businesses and the individual." The world's seventh-largest economy is taking a battering. Economists expect the fallout to tip an already weak Brazil into its worst recession in a quarter of a century. Many projects have been stalled or scrapped and leniency deals are now being considered, offering firms immunity from prosecution in return for an admission of guilt and a return of stolen funds. But for many it's too late. Antonio Amorim is another Comperj victim - in December it employed 17,000 people - now it has only 3,000 employees (SOUNDBITE) (Portuguese) FORMER COMPERJ EMPLOYEE WHO HAD STAYED AT THE WORKERS' LODGE FOR FREE, ANTONIO AMORIM, SAYING: "We provided them with a lot of work of a very high standard, so now we are being humiliated like a dog." Hundreds of thousands took to the streets recently in anti-government protests, claiming President Dilma Rousseff must have known about the corruption. She denies the accusation but either way there's little sign a jobs revival. Petrobras plans to cut 2015 investment by as much as a third.

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Brazil jobs pain over Petrobras scandal

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 01:59