UPDATE 2-Vale union suspends strike over bonus payments for talks

martes 23 de febrero de 2016 17:42 GYT

(Adds union position)

RIO DE JANEIRO Feb 23 (Reuters) - Workers who disrupted production at mine and transportation units of Brazilian mining company Vale SA in Brazil's Minas Gerais state suspended their strike late on Tuesday to engage in talks with the company, a union official said.

The workers, who went on strike at nine sites earlier in the day over unpaid annual profit-sharing bonuses, plan to maintain "a strike posture" during the talks, said Braz Abreu, director of the Metabase Belo Horizonte union.

Earlier on Tuesday, Vale confirmed the strike and said it was negotiating with the union.

The world's largest producer of iron ore said that 2015 is the first year since the company was privatized by the Brazilian government in 1997 in which it has not paid a performance bonus to employees.

The company has been hit hard by a dramatic fall in the price of iron ore, and analysts expect it to report a loss when it publishes full year results on Thursday.

Vale also said that under its contract with the union the bonuses are not obligatory. (Reporting by Marta Nogueira and Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Richard Chang and Jonathan Oatis)