UPDATE 1-Colombia coal mechanics' strike in 6th day, no impact on Cerrejon

Mon Jul 14, 2014 2:44pm EDT

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(Updates with Cerrejon comment, coal price)

CARACAS, July 14 (Reuters) - Mechanics at Colombia's largest coal mines remained on strike for a sixth day, a union leader said on Monday, but the country's biggest coal miner Cerrejon said the stoppage had not disrupted its operations.

Felix Herrera, president of the Sintraime union said Dimantec, a third-party contractor providing around 3,500 mechanics to Colombia's biggest miners including joint-venture Cerrejon and U.S.-based Drummond Co, had rejected a union proposal for a wage increase.

Dimantec in turn made a new wage offer but workers rejected it because it was almost identical to the company's prior offer, Herrera said.

"There's no agreement. We made a proposal and the company continued with an almost identical proposal," said Herrera. No plans for further negotiations were scheduled on Monday but Colombia's Labor Ministry was trying to get both sides to meet again, he said.

The mining companies are allowed to seek mechanics elsewhere, which may help them avoid disruption to their operations for longer.

Juan Carlos Restrepo, Cerrejon's vice-president of public affairs, told Reuters the near-week old strike had not had any impact on the mining operations of the company, which forecasts it will produce more than 33 million tonnes this year.

"We are worried about it and we want them to resolve this as quickly as possible, but we have no impact to report," he said.

Prices for coal in Europe, which buys a large share of Colombian coal, rose in response to the continuing strike though oversupply meant the increase was limited. Coal for August delivery rose 25 cents to $73.25 per tonne.

(Reporting by Peter Murphy; Editing by Tom Brown and Diane Craft)

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