Chile copper mine contract workers announce one-day strike

SANTIAGO Tue Aug 26, 2014 12:36pm EDT

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SANTIAGO Aug 26 (Reuters) - Contract workers at Chilean copper mines are planning a one-day strike next month, demanding changes to labor laws, a union head said on Tuesday.

The stoppage on Sept. 4 is being held by the Confederation of Copper Workers (CTC). Union members are contractors, many of whom supply services such as catering to mines, meaning that production in the world's top copper producer is unlikely to be seriously affected.

CTC president Manuel Ahumada said that the strike is aimed at putting pressure on the center-left government of Michelle Bachelet to move forward with promised reforms on strengthening unions and the right to strike.

"Labor reforms were announced but the discussion hasn't advanced," Ahumada said.

Bachelet, who took power in March, is pushing a wide range of reforms through Congress aimed at addressing inequality in Chile.

Most crucial copper workers in Chile belong to local plant unions, who are not taking part in the strike, although Ahumada said it would be difficult for the mines to run normally without the contract workers.

Copper production in Chile is led by state-run Codelco, with private companies such as BHP Billiton , Anglo American, Glencore, and Antofagasta Minerals also running operations. (Reporting by Fabian Cambero; Writing by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Grant McCool)

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