Chile Escondida mine union seeks contract proposal by Monday
SANTIAGO, Jan 12 (Reuters) - The union at the world's largest copper mine Escondida has given the deposit controlled by global miner BHP Billiton until Monday to propose a new contract agreement within the framework of early labor talks, the union said in a statement on Saturday. If the proposal is deemed satisfactory, the union will call on its members to vote on its acceptance. Otherwise, the union will consider the process of early contract negotiations terminated, and will begin preparing itself for the standard negotiation process. "We have made clear to Escondida mine our disposition to wait until Monday Jan. 14 as a deadline to reach a deal, and if that agreement truly contains workers' legitimate and deserved aspirations, it will be presented to the bases for their consideration," the union said in a statement on its web site. BHP was not immediately available to comment. No details were obtainable on the company's proposal or the union's demands. Escondida's union stunned the copper market in 2011 by staging a two-week strike, sending the mine's output tumbling and raising the specter of an increase in labor action. BHP and Rio Tinto, which owns 30 percent of the mine, have approved plans for a $4.5 billion expansion of Escondida to boost output.