Use the Lexology Navigator tool to compare the answers in this article with those from other jurisdictions.

Occupational health and safety and labour issues

Health and safety

What health and safety regulations and procedures apply to oil and gas operations (upstream, midstream and downstream)?

All issues relating to safety and health are regulated by the Organic Law of Prevention, Conditions and Working Environment.

Labour law

Are there any labour law provisions with specific relevance to the oil and gas industry (eg, with regard to use of native and foreign personnel)?

Labour relations in the oil and gas industry are regulated by the Petróleos de Venezuela SA’s (PDVSA) Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Organic Law of Labour and Workers.  

The agreement classifies employees into two main categories:

  • contractual; and
  • non-contractual.

Only contractual employees are entitled to the application of all benefits and conditions set forth in the agreement. Contractual employees are those in low and medium-level positions. Non-contractual employees are expressly excluded from the agreement. However, benefits for non-contractual employees should be no less favourable than those established in the agreement. The following positions are considered non-contractual:

  • directors;
  • managers;
  • administrators;
  • industrial relations chiefs;
  • personnel chiefs;
  • ship or aircraft captains;
  • employees who represent their employer before third parties and other employees;
  • employees who participate in their employer’s decision making; and
  • employees who represent their employer in the discussion of collective bargaining agreements.

In addition, the Organic Hydrocarbons Law establishes that employees entitled to the application of the agreement are protected by labour stability.

Regarding hiring foreign personnel, according to the agreement and the Organic Law of Labour and Workers, at least 90% of the payroll in companies with 10 or more employees should be held by Venezuelan nationals. Certain positions (eg, industrial relations, personnel managers, human resources, ship or aircraft captains and foremen) require the engagement of a Venezuelan national, subject to certain exceptions. Non-Venezuelan national employees must:

  • have Venezuelan descendants;
  • be married to a Venezuelan national;
  • have set up domicile in Venezuela; or
  • have resided in Venezuela for five or more years.

What is the state of collective bargaining/organised labour in the oil and gas industry?

The PDVSA Collective Bargaining Agreement was in force for the period from 2015 to 2017. It will remain in force until a new collective bargaining agreement is finalised.

Click here to view the full article.