Colombian mine mechanics, gov't to seek end to 12-day strike

BOGOTA, July 22 Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:34am EDT

BOGOTA, July 22 (Reuters) - Mechanics at Colombia's largest coal mines will meet on Tuesday with contractor Dimantec and representatives from the labor ministry in an effort to negotiate an end to a 12-day strike.

The 3,500-strong mechanics group is demanding improved pay, after Dimantec maintained the same salary offer made in previous negotiations, a union leader said.

The meeting will begin at 10:00 (1500 GMT) in the northern city of Valledupar, Sintraime union head Felix Herrera told Reuters.

"There's a lot of hope that there will be an accord which benefits everyone and we can lift the strike," Herrera said.

The mechanics maintain and repair heavy machinery used in the extraction of around 90 million tonnes of coal per year. Dimantec provides mechanics to Colombia's biggest miners including joint-venture Cerrejon and U.S.-based Drummond Co .

Coal prices have reacted little to news of the strike, which comes during a period of mild weather in Europe, which has eased demand in that key market, and ample stocks.

Colombia's largest coal miner is joint venture Cerrejon, owned by Anglo American Plc, BHP Billiton and Glencore Xstrata Plc. The No. 2 miner is Drummond. (Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by James Dalgleish)