September 1, 2016 / 1:37 PM / 2 years ago

Two Chile copper mines edge closer to possible strikes

SANTIAGO, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Workers at Anglo American Plc’s flagship Los Bronces copper mine and at Chilean state-owned Codelco’s small Salvador deposit inched closer to a strike on Thursday after rejecting separate wage deals offered by their respective firms.

Most of the unionized workers at Los Bronces in central Chile rejected Anglo American’s collective wage deal, but did not immediately go on strike as local law requires a government-sponsored mediation process during contract negotiations, the company said.

Anglo American offered the nearly 1,700 workers a bonus of some $13,000 each, plus other benefits.

Los Bronces is part of the Anglo American Sur complex, which produced 437,800 tonnes of copper in 2015. That’s about 8 percent of the total output of Chile, the world’s No. 1 copper producer.

Meanwhile, workers at Codelco’s smallest mine Salvador also rejected the latest wage offer made by the state-owned copper miner, clearing the way for a strike there, the union told Reuters.

Workers rejected the deal which considered a $3,730 per worker bonus, and no salary increase.

“We will only accept the government-mediated talks if (Codelco) comes with a new offer,” Patricio Elgueta, the head of Salvador’s union, told Reuters.

Salvador produced 49,000 tonnes of copper in 2015. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Anthony Esposito)

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