May 26, 2019 / 12:20 AM / 3 months ago

Unions at Codelco's Chuquicamata mine reject final contract offer

SANTIAGO, May 25 (Reuters) - Unionized workers at world top copper miner Codelco’s Chuquicamata mine voted on Saturday to reject the state miner´s final contract offer, paving the way for a vote to strike early next week, union leaders said in a statement.

The vote to strike is slated for Tuesday and Wednesday, the statement said. A strike would require the approval of more than half of the 3,200 unionized workers that are members of Chuquicamata’s three largest unions.

Labor leaders called Codelco’s final contract, which included a bonus of about $14,150 per worker, a “mockery.”

“Union members ... categorically reject this final offer ... which we consider to be a mockery of our legitimate demands, our rights and our contributions to Codelco,” the unions wrote in a statement.

Codelco did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Codelco’s giant open-pit Chuquicamata mine, set to be the Chilean state-run miner’s biggest by output this year, is undergoing a complex $5 billion transformation into an underground shaft mine in a bid to extend the century-old prospect’s lifespan.

Reuters this week reported exclusively that Chuquicamata will see a 40% drop in production over the next two years. (Reporting by Dave Sherwood and Fabian Cambero, editing by G Crosse)

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