Chile’s outsourced Codelco workers slam suspension of contract work over coronavirus

Photo by Codelco

Outsourced workers at Chile’s state-owned Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, on Thursday slammed the miner’s decision to suspend some contract work as a result of increasing restrictions around the coronavirus outbreak.

Codelco on Wednesday said the temporary measures were necessary to ensure the safety of its workers and abide by social distancing policies. The decision applied to approximately 30% of its outsourced staff, the company said.

The Confederation of Copper Workers (CTC), the trade union representing the contract workers, complained Codelco made the decision without seeking their input or alternatives.

“We reject this decision as inconsistent, harmful and unilateral, and propose it be reversed immediately,” the CTC said in a statement, calling for dialogue with the miner.

The trade union said Codelco’s in-house and outsourced workers should be treated equally in the face of the pandemic, regardless of status.

Codelco could not be immediately reached for comment.

The miner on Wednesday said its production and sales continued in line with targets even as restrictions have increased around the coronavirus outbreak. It said it would maintain operational continuity despite its decision to suspend some contract work at its projects and mines throughout Chile.

(By Fabian Cambero and Dave Sherwood; Editing by David Gregorio)

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