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Chile copper mine protest drags on

Steel News - Published on Fri, 10 Jun 2011

Reuters reported that a strike by contract workers that has halved output at the world\'s No 5 copper mine, El Teniente in Chile, entered its 15th day with no end in sight as wage talks stalled.

Mine owner Codelco slowed output at the world\'s top underground copper operation over the weekend after protests by contractors turned violent and forced staff workers to stay home.

Both unions and the company said that an emergency crew has kept production at 40% capacity amid a strike that has cost the state giant at least USD 30 million in lost revenues and about 4,000 tonnes of copper. More than 500 contractors have quit the walkout or about 4% of strikers.

Mr Diego Hernandez CEO of Codelco said that he expected the conflict at the 404,000 tonne per year mine to be resolved as soon as this week. However, protest leaders and service companies\' sources said negotiations stalled after workers rejected a bonus of USD 1,500 last week.

Mr Marco Alarcon a protest leader said that \"We are open to talks but they have not contacted us to resume negotiations.\"

Another leader Mr Luis Nunez said that he expected local government authorities to mediate another sit down with contract companies. Employers have to greatly improve their previous offer for the strike to end. Contract companies have said they cannot meet their workers\' demands for USD 4,700 in bonuses.

The government of Mr Sebastian Pinera president of Chile has refused to step in to resolve the conflict, backing Codelco\'s position to refrain from direct negotiations with contractors.

A senior company source said that direct talks with contractors could embolden temporary workers at other Codelco divisions to demand higher wages and increases the risk of contagion.

(Sourced from Reuters)

Posted By : admin on Fri, 10 Jun 2011
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