In turnabout, El Teniente workers approve early Codelco contract

viernes 28 de febrero de 2014 11:15 GYT

SANTIAGO Feb 28 (Reuters) - Workers at state copper company Codelco's key El Teniente mine approved an early contract agreement on Friday, likely defusing the risk of strikes at the Chilean company's top deposit.

The unions had very narrowly rejected the same company offer earlier this month, but in a fresh vote decided to accept the deal, which includes a one-off bonus and loans worth around $37,500.

"The El Teniente division wrapped up the collective bargaining process early and avoided a conflict with unions," Codelco said in a statement.

The 48-month long contract affects 4,200 workers. El Teniente's next collective negotiation is slated for the second half of 2017.

Mining companies in Chile are increasingly offering sweetened deals to their workers to avoid strikes from workers seeking a bigger share of a mining bonanza in the copper powerhouse.

World No.1 copper producer Codelco is in a tight place at the moment, with global copper prices ebbing, cash running low and costs inching up.

El Teniente was the company's most productive deposit between January and September of last year, mining 327,000 tonnes of red metal in the period.