Strike halts operations at BHP's Cerro Colorado

Bnamericas Published: Monday, January 11, 2016
Strike halts operations at BHP's Cerro Colorado

Unionized workers at BHP Billiton's Cerro Colorado copper mine in northern Chile began a legal strike on Monday following the collapse of collective contract negotiations.

Union No. 1, representing some 700 workers, rejected the company's latest proposal of a real wage increase of 1%, local and international press reported.

The union carried out a ballot on the strike on Friday, and 77.4% of the votes cast were in favor of downing tools, according to the union's website.

"BHP Billiton confirms that on January 8, Cerro Colorado's collective bargaining process concluded without an agreement and that the union voted in favor of a strike. In accordance with [Chile's] labor law, work continued normally during the weekend and the strike start time corresponded to the shift starting on the morning of January 11," a company spokesperson told BNamericas via an emailed statement.

"The company deeply regrets the decision of the workers, as the proposal made every effort to reach a mutually beneficial agreement that would ensure the sustainability of Cerro Colorado."

Cerro Colorado, located in Tarapacá region (I), produced 68,200t of copper in January to November 2015, according to the latest figures from Chile's state copper commission Cochilco.

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