UPDATE 2-Chile copper union vows to intensify strike after miner shot dead

viernes 24 de julio de 2015 16:47 GYT

(Recasts with CTC union vowing to intensify strike, adds comments from a second miners' union)

By Fabian Cambero and Gram Slattery

SANTIAGO, July 24 (Reuters) - A Chilean mining contract worker was shot dead by police on Friday during a protest against state-owned copper company Codelco, prompting union leaders to say a four-day strike would intensify.

Contract workers with the Confederation of Copper Workers, or CTC, have blocked roads at Codelco projects around the country demanding the right to negotiate a benefits package similar to that offered to direct Codelco employees.

The CTC did not elaborate on how it would escalate the labor dispute, which has already forced the suspension of operations at Codelco's Salvador mine. Last year the mine produced 54,000 tonnes, or just under 1 percent of the company's total copper output.

"The conflict obviously will keep going and, in fact, it will intensify. We're not going to let the death of our colleague be in vain," CTC President Manuel Ahumada said by telephone.

A union representing Codelco's direct employees called on the copper company to draw up a proposal to improve the conditions of contract miners, but stopped short of calling on its members to join the strike.

The CTC said contractor Nelson Quichillao had been shot while protesting near Codelco's Salvador mine in northern Chile.

Interior Minister Jorge Burgos called the shooting a "lamentable situation" which he said occurred as police tried to clear a road. Prosecutors are investigating.   Continuación...