June 27, 2019 / 11:07 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 3-Strike ends at Chile's Chuquicamata copper mine after vote on Codelco offer

(Adds Codelco statement)

SANTIAGO, June 27 (Reuters) - The three main labor unions at Chile’s Chuquicamata mine voted on Thursday to accept the latest contract offer from Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, ending a two-week-old strike that had docked output at the sprawling copper deposit.

The unions, which make up 80% of the workforce at the mine, had rejected Codelco’s offer on Saturday, but asked the state miner for another chance to vote on the proposal this week.

“The nearly 3,200 employees represented by Unions 1,2 and 3 will return to their normal work schedules starting with the first shift on Friday, June 28,” Codelco said in a statement after the vote was announced.

Chuquicamata, or “Chuqui,” one of Codelco’s key copper deposits, faces a challenge to maintain output as the open-pit mine undergoes a complex $5 billion-plus transformation into an underground shaft mine. The overhaul has meant job cuts in some areas of the mine, making relations tense with workers.

“We profoundly appreciate the commitment of each of our members, who along with their families and union leaders took this giant step toward defending our rights,” Union 3, one of the striking labor groups, said in a letter distributed to members after the vote. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero, and Natalia Ramos Writing by Hugh Bronstein Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Richard Chang)

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