Escondida mine workers agree to suspend planned work stoppage

Escondida mine. (Image courtesy of BHP.)

Workers at Chile’s Escondida mine, the largest copper mine in the world, agreed to temporarily suspend a work stoppage planned for next week to meet with local regulators according to a document seen by Reuters.

The company, controlled by multinational BHP, has requested state mediation to reach an agreement with workers.

In the statement, the union said its board of directors had been summoned to “emergency meetings” with the state mining regulator and a government labor office on September 12 and 13.

According to the union, the meetings will be to “review all the complaints and violations of both labor legislation and work safety.”

Workers had voted to go on strike Wednesday over safety concerns at the mine..

“The board of directors will attend the meetings with authorities, rescheduling our union action plan, which will be executed under new conditions defined by our organization,” the statement said.

The company also released a statement, requesting that the “regional labor directorate initiate voluntary mediation” with the union.

“The company hopes that the union accepts this invitation for dialogue to facilitate an agreement,” the statement said.

Patricio Tapia, the union’s president, told Reuters they would not attend the requested mediation with the company and prioritize meetings with government authorities.

(By Fabian Cambero and Alexander Villegas; Editing by Franklin Paul and David Gregorio)

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