Codelco not giving away gold watches anymore

An old Longines pocket gold watch. Photo by JaneArt, Wikimedia Commons.

Chile’s Codelco, the world’s No. 1 copper producer, made headlines recently not for its production of the red metal but for putting an end to a centenary tradition.

For decades, the National Copper Corporation gave away expensive gold watches to workers that have been with the company for over 30 years. But the practice came to an end in 2019.

According to the local press and the agency AFP, when the Chuquicamata and El Teniente divisions issued a tender to acquire 451 Longines gold watches, the alarms were set off at Chairman Juan Benavides’ office. He decided to stop the process.

Of the watches, 383 have a market price of almost $1,500, while 68 of them have a market price of $2,215.

The tradition of giving away jewellery, however, may continue at Codelco’s headquarters, where the benefit is established in the collective contract negotiated with the operating union.

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