Workers end two-week long strike at BHP’s nickel mine in Colombia

Workers end two-week long strike at BHP’s nickel mine in Colombia

The Cerro Matoso nickel mine in Colombia is one of the assets that form BHP's proposed spin-off company South32, due to list on May 18.

Workers at BHP Billiton’s (ASX:BHP) Cerro Matoso nickel mine in Colombia have ended a two-week long strike that generated about US$26 million in losses and forced the company declare force majeure last week.

Members of the union blocked access to the ferronickel mine and refinery on April 13 protesting a change to longer shifts they said would have increased uninterrupted exposure to toxic substances and damaged their health, El Colombiano reported (in Spanish).

The company and the miners reached an agreement on Friday under which unionized workers won’t be moved to the debated longer shifts. However, BHP’s subsidiary in Colombia confirmed Monday miners won’t receive their salary for the days they remained on strike, El Universal reports (in Spanish).

BHP switched to two daily 12-hour shifts from three eight-hour work schedule it previously had, aiming to boost productivity by reducing lost operational time through fewer handover periods.

Cerro Matoso is one of the assets that form BHP's proposed spin-off company South32, due to list on May 18, pending approval from BHP shareholders this coming Wednesday