After 40 Days on Strike, Stagnant Dialogue in Chilean Mining
Santiago de Chile, Mar 20 (Prensa Latina) After 40 days on strike and slight hope of an agreement between workers and patrons, the panorama of the Escondida mine in Chile, the biggest copper producer in the world, again fell in a standstill.
The perspective of a meeting this afternoon again was called off when the leaders of the trade union representing 2,500 workers of the mine considered insufficient an offer made by the administration.
The guild extended an invitation to talk to thwe owners of the mine, in majority hands of the Anglo-Australian consortium BHP Billiton, who responded positively but putting their own bases.
It handed in the Labor Direction a proposal including a bonus of end of strike of about 17 thousand 400 dollars per worker. However, the rejection came rapidly afterward.
'Save for the increase of bonuses for only once (...) and a pair of modified points, this new offer maintains the severe damages that made us go on strike', stresses the union in a communiqué.
The affiliates to the guild number one of Escondida, located in the northern region of Antofagasta, held contacts in the early hours of Sunday and early this Monday in order to give a blunt response.
'It is outrageous that the enterprise keeps on with its speech that this will keep being the best collective contract of the industry, without recognizing the enormous setback they pretend', advanced leaders of the guild.
The most neuralgic points demanded point to respect benefits achieved in previous negotiations; that working conditions are not modified including rest periods, and that a clause excluding future workers from some benefits.
Last Friday, the president of the mining company, Marcelo Castillo thanked the disposition of workers to meet face to face, on the basis of an agenda based in three essential points, acdording to the proposal of the guild.
Before the trade union expressed its will to resume talks on three points, the first of these, equity in times of rest and working day.
Also, to maintain the conditions of the previous collective contract and that no differences of benefits between new and old workers, according to the text, to maintain the conditions at least in a minimum degree.
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