Workers at Antofagasta copper mine approve contract offer, averting strike

Centinela copper mine. (Image courtesy of Minera Centinela.)

Workers at Antofagasta’s Centinela copper mine in Chile have voted overwhelmingly to approve a new labor contract, their union announced on Thursday, averting a possible strike.

The contract was approved with 347 votes in favor and 26 against.

Earlier this week, union leader Luis Redlich said workers would go on strike on Dec. 19 if the contract talks failed.

With the deal, the nearly 400 members of the Centinela District Workers’ Union obtained a bonus of 19.6 million Chilean pesos ($22,700), plus a nearly $3,500 preferential loan benefit.

The contract “is a historic gain for mining workers,” said Redlich, adding that the contract would last 34 months, with the next negotiations starting eight months before the end.

The union employees rejected an earlier contract proposal last month, looking to make up for lower production-linked bonuses and to improve working conditions.

Last year, Centinela produced 247,600 metric tons of copper, according to government data.

The company, which does not typically comment on its negotiations, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

($1 = 864.8000 Chilean pesos)

(By Fabian Cambero; Editing by David Alire Garcia and Rosalba O’Brien)


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