Workers at the Andina mine in central Chile rejected owner Codelco’s wage offer, opting instead to begin a strike that may further tighten global copper supplies.
About 82% of members of the two main unions at Andina voted to walk off the job, snubbing a proposal delivered by the state-owned company during mediated talks.
Union leaders were scheduled to meet with management Wednesday afternoon to ratify the results, with a strike set to begin Thursday. Workers are seeking better benefits and remuneration that reflects high copper prices, the unions said in a statement.
A stoppage at Andina, a mid-sized mine that produced 184,500 metric tons last year, adds to labor tensions in top exporter Chile, where workers at a mine owned by JX Nippon Mining & Metals started a strike this week and union members at the giant Escondida mine are voting on a final wage offer from owner BHP Group.
Until now Codelco, the world’s biggest copper producer, had avoided strikes in the current hectic wage negotiation cycle in Chile, where sky-high metal prices have emboldened workers amid an uptick in resource nationalism spurred by pandemic-related economic woes.
(By James Attwood)