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Los Pelambres union members vote in favour of strike action

Los Pelambres union members in 2019. (Reference image by the Board of the Supervisors Union of Los Pelambres, Twitter.)

Ninety-four percent of union members at Antofagasta’s (LON: ANTO) Los Pelambres copper mine in Chile have agreed to launch a strike action to push the company to reconsider its most recent contract offer.  

In a media statement, the Board of the Supervisors Union of Los Pelambres explained that following a consultation process carried out on September 29 and 30, 2022, the majority of the 386 members of the union voted in favour of the stoppage.

“The company’s proposal failed to meet the expectations and needs of our members,” the release reads.

Now, Antofagasta has four days to ask the Labour Department for mediation. If the company decides to take this route, it will have another five working days to negotiate a deal that could cancel the strike action. If no agreement is reached, workers may go on strike as early as October 12.

“With these results, Los Pelambres and its shareholders must understand that their workers demand to be respected, valued and fairly compensated for their contributions in terms of both production and profits, which are higher than those generated by other operations within the [Antofagasta] Group,” the communiqué reads. “We hope that they are up to the task in the next stage of negotiation.”

It is still uncertain how a stoppage at Los Pelambres would affect Antofagasta’s full-year copper production. However, the company had already announced, back in June, that it was likely to reach only the lower end of its previous guidance of 660,000-690,000 tonnes, following a series of community-led blockades and protests in the High Valley of Salamanca.