RPT-Chile Codelco's Chuquicamata miners accept wage deal

Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:53pm EST

SANTIAGO Dec 15 (Reuters) - Workers at the giant Chuquicamata mine of Chile's state-run copper firm Codelco said on Saturday they have accepted a wage offer with the company.

The deal averts drawn out negotiations and the chance of a strike. [ ID:nL1E8NE91J]

"The company's offer was approved by 88 percent of the votes," Jaime Graz, a labor leader, told Reuters.

The mine employs more than 5,000 workers and about 2,900 workers were present at the vote.

Codelco, which owns around 11 percent of the world's copper reserves, mined 1.735 million tonnes of the red metal in 2011. It has at times battled labor strife, extreme weather and ageing mines.

Chuquicamata produced 443,000 tonnes last year.

The 48-month labor agreement includes a salary increase of 3.7 percent plus bonuses and loans worth about $42,000 for each worker.

With the latest agreement, the only major wage deal oustanding in Chile's massive copper industry will be negotiations next year at BHP Billiton's mine Escondida, the world's largest.

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