Strike stops work at Colombia's biggest coal producer

Workers employed by Colombian coal giant Cerrejon began a strike Thursday in Guajira, in the north of the country, suspending activity at its mine.

Sintracarbon  is one of the country's oldest unions with about 5,900 members, including permanent and outsourced workers. According to its website, the union's bargaining position is focused on improved working conditions.

Carbones del Cerrejon — a consortium of BHP Billiton, Xstrata and Anglo America — is the country’s biggest coal producer. The company said on its website it has offered workers a significant improvement on almost all benefits currently in force. It claims it will resolve the dispute through an arbitration tribunal per Colombian law.

The collective agreement expired Dec. 31.

Image: Shutterstock / John Kershner