Monday, December 1, 2014

Chile: 96% of Anglo American's Mining Choose to Strike Amid Stalemate of Hundreds of Supervisors

According to The Latin American Tribune, several hundred supervisors with multinational miner Anglo American’s Chilean unit went on strike Friday (November 28) amid a lack of progress in collective bargaining talks, union leaders said.

The strike was approved by secret vote of 96% of the members of the Supervisors Union, the head of that labor organization, Ivan Mlynarz, told reporters.

The supervisors said they opted for the strike action, the first to affect London-based Anglo American since it began operating in Chile, after 45 days of fruitless talks with management.

“The idea is to reach an agreement that lets us get the relationship between the mining company and its professionals back on track,” Mlynarz said while standing with other striking supervisors at the entrance to the Los Bronces copper mine, located 65 kilometers (40 miles) northeast of Santiago at an altitude of 3,500 meters (11,475 feet) above sea level.

COMMENT: Mlynarz criticized the company’s “intransigence,” saying that “in 45 days of collective bargaining talks it has refused to make any offer that includes any new benefit or compensation for its professionals.”

“The company opposed prolonging the negotiations,” thus making the strike “inevitable,” he added.

The strike could result in daily losses totaling some $6 million considering that Los Bronces alone yields roughly 1,000 tons per day of fine copper, whose international market price is $6,200 per ton, according to Mlynarz.

The union presented the company a 20-point list of demands that was rejected in its entirety.

 Those demands included a 5% salary hike and a productivity bonus, all of which seems reasonable and equitable.

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