BOGOTA, Sept 13 Colombia's Labor Ministry said
on Friday it was calling an arbitration tribunal to settle a
dispute at the local operations of U.S.-based coal miner
Drummond, which have been shut down by 52 days of
"The decision ... implies the lifting of the strike declared
at the said company," the Labor Ministry said in a brief
statement on its website.
The stoppage has shut off about one third of production from
the world's No. 4 coal exporter and has been the second major
strike in Colombia's coal sector this year, cutting royalties
revenue for the government and crimping economic growth.
Workers represented by the Sintramienergetica union are
demanding a pay rise higher than the 5 percent Drummond has
offered, a fixed monthly salary instead of by-the-hour pay and
new jobs for port workers who are to be made redundant next
January with the introduction of direct conveyor belt loading of
The Labor Ministry said it took the decision to impose the
tribunal in light of a vote by the majority of Drummond's
roughly 5,000 direct employees in favor of accepting the
company's offer and returning to work. Sintramienergetica said
this week most of its members still wanted to keep striking.
A Sintramienergetica representative did not answer calls for
comment, while a Drummond spokeswoman said the company would
issue a statement later on Friday