Antofagasta seeks state mediation over labor dispute at Los Pelambres

Los Pelambres produced 370,500 tonnes of copper last year. (Image courtesy of Antofagasta)

Chile’s Antofagasta, one of the world’s largest copper producers, has requested government mediation to resolve a contractual dispute with supervisors at its flagship Los Pelambres mine, the supervisors┬┤ union said on Monday.

The workers voted by a majority to go on strike after rejecting a salary adjustment offer from the company and amid opposition to a flexible working hours plan.

“This is not going to give us flexibility. If you want to have people working 24/7, you have to pay overtime accordingly,” Felipe Franco, head of the union of 271 members, told Reuters.

Franco added that they were also still holding out for a bonus for their work at the deposit, which in 2018 yielded 370,500 tonnes of copper, compared with 356,300 tonnes the previous year.

Meanwhile the workers’ union at the company┬┤s smaller Antucoya mine said it saw no fresh progress in their mediation process which ends on Tuesday, although it can be extended by decision of both parties.

Antucoya produced 72,200 tons of copper in 2018.

Antofagasta said it would not publicly comment on the ongoing discussions at either mine.

Chile is the world’s top copper producer.

(By Fabian Cambero and Dave Sherwood; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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