Latest talks fail to end mechanics' strike at Colombia coal mines

CARTAGENA, Colombia, July 25 Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:19pm EDT

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CARTAGENA, Colombia, July 25 (Reuters) - A strike by mechanics at Colombia's main coal mines will continue into next week after the latest round of contract talks on Friday failed to produce a wage deal, the union said.

Around 3,500 mechanics who service machinery at the mines have been on strike in the world's fourth biggest coal exporter since July 9 to demand a pay increase. Production is continuing at the mines.

"The strike carries on. For now there are no more meetings planned," said Felix Herrera, head of the Sintraime workers union, which represents workers employed by the third party machinery-service contractor, Dimantec.

Herrera said the company failed to improve upon its existing pay offer at the meeting.

The mechanics maintain and repair heavy machinery used in the extraction of around 90 million tonnes of coal per year.

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 U.S.-based Drummond. (Reporting by Peter Murphy; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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