Chile copper unions to announce national strike date on Monday

SANTIAGO, April 8 Mon Apr 8, 2013 2:53am EDT

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SANTIAGO, April 8 (Reuters) - Unions representing workers at Chilean state copper producer Codelco and mining companies including BHP Billiton said they will announce a planned nationwide strike on Monday.

The announcement will be made at 11AM local time (2PM GMT).

The Federation of Copper Workers umbrella union group, which represents the world's top copper producer Codelco, had said on March 15 it would stage a stoppage within 30 days to demand greater job security.

The union umbrella group representing workers at private miners, including BHP-run world No.1 copper mine Escondida, Anglo American, Antofagasta Minerals and world No.3 copper mine Collahuasi are now also planning labor action.

The announcement comes amid a climate of heightened labor tensions in Chile, which some link to the November presidential election. At stake is a third of the world's copper output.

State-owned Codelco, which owns around 11 percent of the world's copper reserves, is looking to increase its output to around 1.7 million tonnes this year but is facing renewed labour unrest, skidding ore grades and accidents.

For more on Chile's mining woes, please see:

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