Chile port workers end strike after three weeks

SANTIAGO Sat Jan 25, 2014 9:01pm EST

A Chilean dock worker waves a Chilean flag at a rally against the government at the entrance of the port during a strike in Valparaiso city, about 121 km (75 miles) northwest of Santiago, January 16, 2014. REUTERS/Eliseo Fernandez

A Chilean dock worker waves a Chilean flag at a rally against the government at the entrance of the port during a strike in Valparaiso city, about 121 km (75 miles) northwest of Santiago, January 16, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Eliseo Fernandez

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SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chilean port workers negotiated a settlement with management on Saturday and ended a more than three-week-old strike that had slowed copper, fruit and other shipments from the world's top copper producer.

The northern port of Angamos kicked off a work stoppage in late December to demand stronger union organizing rights. The labor action then spread. Other ports joined the strike in solidarity and in protest over what they say is police brutality against striking workers.

Workers at the copper-exporting ports of Antofagasta and Iquique downed tools during the work stoppage. Many of the other striking ports were in the southern part of Chile, an agricultural region which barely produces any copper.

"We appreciate this accord, which ends more than three weeks of paralysis," the Chilean fruit exporters' chamber Fedefruta said in a statement.

The stoppage has hit grape, apple and berry farmers in the middle of the Southern Hemisphere summer.

(Reporting by Fabián Andrés Cambero)

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